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Cornell University 

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Vol. II. 

ILnnUon : 







XII. Increasing Anxiety for Decisive Action in 

SEVERAL directions I 

XIII. The Difficulty in the Reichstag about the 

Convention with Bavaria removed— The 
Bombardment put off 32 

XIV. Prospects before Paris improve ... .80 

XV. Chaudordy and Facts — Officers breaking 
their Parole — French Misconstructions — 
The Crown Prince entertained by the 
Chief .... ii8 

' XVI. First Weeks of the Bombardment .... 169 

XVII. The Last Weeks before the Capitulation of 

Paris . . ^ 210 

XVIII. Negotiations for the Capitulation of Paris . 245 

XIX. From Gambetta's Retirement to the Conclu- 
sion OF the Peace Preliminaries .... 332 






About the middle of November I wrote home : " It is still 
possible that we may get back before Christmas. From 
expressions attributed to the King in the last few days many 
think it likely. For my own part I don't put much faith in 
it, although everything is going well, and Paris will pro- 
bably be reduced to meal and horse-flesh in three or four 
weeks, and must accordingly ' sing small,' especially when 
Hindersin's big guns begin to assist to rapid decisions a 
government made reasonable by starvation. I can under- 
stand how our good friend S. finds the thing slow. Certainly 
the war makes no account of his comfort or that of those 
who feel with him. Let him possess himself in patience a 
while longer, like our soldiers, who have to wait for the end ' 
in hunger and dirt, while he and other fine people in Berlin 
lie on comfortable sofas and have their cups and platters 
full. These omniscient critics of the bar and the tap-room, 
with their eternal grumbling and fault-finding, are a queer 
sort, ridiculous and very unsatisfactory.'' 


2 Bismarck i7t the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

In all this there was certainly some truth. But when it 
became clear that the Parisians had been provisioned for 
longer than we believed, when the big guns of General 
Hindersin kept silence for weeks after, and the German 
question would not get solved in the way we wanted, the dis- 
content, even in the-house in the Rue de Provence, increased 
daily, while rumours that people who had no business to 
interfere were preventing the beginning of the bombardment 
gained greater and greater force week after week. 

Whether these rumours were well-grounded I must leave an 
open question. It is certain, however, that there were other 
causes also at work to prevent the bombardment beginning 
as soon as people wished, and that, the effectual blockade 
of Paris itself was something unprecedented. Let me quote, 
for instance, what Major Blume said of it in 187 1 : — - 

" Foreign military critics had declared the blockade of 
Paris absolutely impossible till it actually took place, and 
they had very good grounds for their opinions. When the 
inhabitants were first shut in, there were nearly 400,000 
armed men in the city, some 60,000 of whom were line 
troops, and nearly 100,000 Gardes Mobiles of the city and 
the neighbouring departments. The line and the Mobiles 
were armed with the chassepot, and whatever the defects 
of their military training, they were certainly capable of -de- 
fending themselves behind walls and ditches, and, if pro- 
perly led, of making dangerous sorties. The fortified 
enceinte of Paris was 18 miles, the line connecting the forts, 
34 miles ; the line through the most advanced outposts of 
the besieging army, 50 miles long ; the direct telegraph line, 
which joined up with each other the headquarters of the 
several army corps, extended for not less than go miles. The 
German army, which completed the investment on Sept. 19, 
consisted of no more than 122,000 infantry, 24,000 cavalry. 

XII.] Nmnber of German Army before Paris. 3 

and 622 guns. The effective strength of the different 
divisions had been greatly reduced by the battles they had 
fought and their march as far as Paris. The Guards, for 
instance, numbered only 14,200, and the Fifth Army Corps 
only 16,000 infantry. Thus the investment of Paris vi^as a 
bold undertaking, far more so than even the French used 
dien to represent it, and a very little self-examination would 
convince them now how little right they have to comfort them- 
selves with fine-sounding phrases about the glorious defence 
of their capital.' For four long weeks there was only a. 
single German foot-soldier per yard over the enormously 
long line of investment Gradually the Eleventh North 
German, the First Bavarian Army Corps, and the relief troops 
melted in to fill up the gaps. The fall of Strassburg freed 
the Guards' division of the Landwehr, and at the close of 
October our two armies round Paris numbered 202,000 
infantry, 33,800 cavalry, and 898 guns. Besides the strain 
of outpost duty, and the perpetual necessity of strengthening 
the line of investment, thes-e troops had every now and then 
to spare strong detachments to sweep clear the immediate 
neighbourhood of the besieging army. Taking all things 
into account, the number of the German troops directly 
engaged in the investment of Paris hardly ever exceeded 
200,000 men.'' 

Blume proceeds to explain what he believes to have been 
the reasons why no attempt was made in September to take 
the city by assault, and why a regular siege was not opened 
against it afterwards. The forts and the enceinte which 
protected the city could not have been carried by storm. 
As to a regular siege, or even an artillery attack on single 
forts, the chief obstacle, apart from the numerical weakness of 
the troops who would have had to undertake it, was our great 
poverty in suitable siege guns. These could not be brought 

B 2 

4 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

up till after Toul fell and the railway was opened to Nanteuil, 
which was not till the last week of September. Nanteuil 
was still fifty miles from Paris, and after the railway- up to it 
had been cleared for traffic, the first thing was to provide 
suitably for the health and comfort of the troops. Round 
Paris itself there were no stores or warehouses, little indeed 
but wine-shops. The army had to live from hand to mouth. 
Reserve magazines had to be organised and filled, and till 
that was done the siege guns had to wait. Even after the 
guns had got to Nanteuil there was plenty of trouble. 
Nearly 300 cannon of the heaviest calibre, with five hundred 
rounds of shot and ammunition for each of them, " necessary 
as a first supply," had to be dragged fifty miles on waggons 
" over execrable roads." The necessary four-wheeled carts 
could not be collected in France, and long columns of 
ammunition waggons had at last to be brought from Ger- 
many. Through these causes and others Major Blume 
asserts that in December, when the preparations began for 
the artillery attack on Mount Avron and the forts on the 
south of Paris, the park of artillery was of very moderate 
strength. Besides the forty rifled six-pounders, there were 
only 235 guns, nearly half of which were rifled twelve- 
pounders. They were hardly fit, as Blume says, to do more 
than make a sort of moral impression on the city. But 
that, he adds, "was all that was wanted, and in the circum- 
stances it was no use arranging for a regular siege, or for 
parallels of investment for the reduction of the forts." 

"About the middle of January 123 guns were playing on 
the southern front of Paris. They threw into the city from 
two to three hundred grenades daily, sufficient to make every 
place on the left bank of the river ' lively,' and to drive most 
of the inhabitants from their houses. The actual material 
damage was certainly trifling. After the fall of Mdziferes, 

XII.] French and German Soldiers Prisoners. 5 

however, a good many more heavy guns were placed in 
position, and the successes of our batteries in the north 
enabled us to prepare an attack of decisive moment against 
Saint-Denis, and to bring the northern half of Paris also 
'under fire. The powers of resistance had, however, by 
that time been completely exhausted. Shortly after the 
last unsuccessful sortie on January 19, the city laid down 
its arms, and the armistice and peace followed in due 

I return to the middle of November, and I shall leave my 
journal to speak for itself as much as I can. 

Wednesday, November 16. — The Chief is still out of 
sorts. People attribute it partly to worry over our negotia- 
tions with 'several of the South German States, which seem 
once more to be hanging fire, and to his annoyance with the 
military authorities, who are supposed not even to have 
asked his opinion on several points which involved more 
than merely military questions. 

After three o'clock I spent some time again with the 
officers of the 46th, who have been run from the outposts 
into this haven of rest for a few days, and are making 
themselves comfortable in the Chateau of Chesnay. H., who 
will now probably soon get his iron cross, tells us a pretty 
little anecdote of the last few weeks. In the struggle near 
Malmaison they had to get over a breach in the wall of a 
park, which, however, was still too high for him to climb 
without laying aside his drawn sword. He was in some 
perplexity, when he noticed on the other side a handsome, 
strapping French lad, who had been taken prisoner and 
disarmed. Calling him up he asked him to hold the sword. 
The lad laughingly did as he was told, returned him his 
weapon afterwards with a smile and a bow, and did the 
same good turn for the sergeant-major who was clambering 

6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

up behind H. Naturally the soldiers would have shot the 
man down on the slightest sign of an inclination to keep the 
sword. These Gauls let themselves be taken prisoner now, 
H. thinks, without making any difficulty. The reason of this 
is no want of food in the Paris army so far. The deserter 
Zouave sergeant caught at the outposts at La Celle looked 
an extremely well-nourished person. Everybody here is 
eager and impatient for the beginning of the bombardment, 
and everybody maintains for certain that it has been so far 
prevented by some ladies of high station interceding that 
the city should be spared. To-day people expected — from 
what signs or on what grounds I omitted to inquire — a great 
sortie of the Parisians. I tell them that such an attempt 
would have far fewer chances of success now than some 
weeks ago, as Prince Frederick Charles and his troops are 
already at Rambouillet. 

Count Waldersee dines with us. The Chief again com- 
plains that the military authorities don't inform him of 
everything of importance that goes on. It was after re- 
peated entreaties that he got them to agree to send him, 
at all events, what they were telegraphing to the German 
papers. In 1866 it was a different story. He was then 
summoned to every consultation. " And so I ought to be," 
he says ; " my business requires it ; I need to know all that 
goes on in military matters, so that I may be able to make 
peace at the right time." 

Thursday, November 17. — After breakfasting with us, 
Delbriick, who lived two or three doors away, towards the 
Avenue de Saint-Cloud, set out to-day for Berlin, where the 
Reichstag is to open its sessions. At breakfast we learned 
that Keudell had been elected, but that he would soon come 
back to us. Before breakfast I had looked through several 
French balloon letters, also a heap of Paris newspapers, and 

XII.] Garibaldi and his Francs-tireurs. 7 

among them La Patrie of the loth, with an interesting 
attack on the provisional government by About — saying 
pretty much the same thing as Figaro has been saying 
recently — the Gazette de France of the 12th, and the Liberte 
of the loth. Afterwards I sent to Berlin a translation of the 
letter which the president of the Roman Junta has directed 
to the Allgemeine Zeitung. In the afternoon we heard that 
Prince Frederick Charles had arrived at Orleans. 

Alten and Prince Radziwill were the Chief's guests at 
dinner. Somebody said that there was a rumour that 
Garibaldi, with his 13,000 "free companions," had been 
taken prisoner. The Minister said, " That would be very 
serious : 13,000 Francs-tireurs, who are not even Frenchmen, 
made prisoners — why on earth were they not shot?" He 
complained once more that the military authorities so seldom 
ask his opinion. " There, for instance, is this capitulation 
at Verdun, which I should certainly not have advised. 
They have promised to give back the arms after peace is 
made, and tlie French magistrates are to order and settle 
everything meanwhile as they think proper. The first is a 
trifle, for in making peace we may stipulate that the arms 
are not to be given back. But 'as they think proper !' Our 
hands are tied fast, and meantime they can go against us in 
everything and act just as if no war were going on. They 
might openly encourage a rising for the Republic, and 
according to the agreement we could not protect ourselves." 

Somebody then spoke of the article of the Diplomatist 
in the Independance Beige, which prophesies the return of 
Napoleon. "No doubt," said the Chancellor, "if he has 
read the article, he is picturing something of the kind to 
himself. After all, it is not quite impossible. If he made 
peace with us he might return with the troops he has in 
Germany. It is something like our Hungarian legion on a 

8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

large scale. He is really the regular government. After 
the restoration of order he would not need more than 
200,000 men to maintain it. It would not be necessary to 
overawe the large towns with troops, except Paris. Perhaps 
Lyons and Marseilles should be made safe; but he could 
trust all the rest to the National Guard, and if the Re- 
publicans rose he could shoot them down." 

A telegram stating what Granville had said about the 
Russian declaration respecting the Treaty of Paris was 
brought in, and the Prince began upon it at once. " It 
means pretty much this, that Russia claims the right to set 
herself free from a part of the Treaty of 1856, and on her 
own initiative takes what can only be , given her by the 
collective powers. England cannot allow a pretension like 
this, which would make any and every treaty worthless. 
Future complications are much to be feared." The Minister 
laughs, saying : " Future complications ! Parliamentary 
speeches ! Risk nothing ! The accent is on the word 
' Future.' That is the sort of talk when people mean to do 
nothing at all. No, nothing is to be feared, as four months 
since nothing was to be hoped from these people. If at the 
beginning of the war the English had said to Napoleon, 
' Don't fight,' this would never have happened." After a while 
he went on : " People have always said that the Russian 
policy is diabolically artful — full of shuffles, and quirks and 
dodges. It is nothing of the kind. Dishonest people would 
have made no such declaration ; they would have gone on 
quietly building war ships in the Black Sea and waited till 
somebody asked them about it. Then they would have 
said they knew nothing about it, they had ' sent to inquire,' 
and they would have wriggled out. They might have kept 
that sort of thing up a long time in Russia, till at last every- 
body had got used to things as they were." Bucher said 

XII.] Spain and the War. 9 

" They have already three war ships in the Black Sea built in 
Sebastopol; and if they were told, You can't have any 
here, they might answer that they really couldn't get them 
away, as the passage of the Dardanelles was closed against 
them in 1856." 

Another telegram announces the election of the Duke of 
Aosta as King of Spain. The Chief says, " I am sorry for 
him and for Spain. He is elected by a narrow majority — 
not by two-thirds as was originally intended. There are 
about 190 votes for and 115 not for him." Alten is happy 
over the monarchical sentiment of the Spaniards, which even 
now has been victorious. " Ah, these Spaniards," says 
the Minister. " Did a single man of these Castilians, with 
their elevated feelings, even whisper his indignation when 
this war was set afoot by their former election, by Napo- 
leon's interference with their freedom of choice and by 
his treating them as his vassals ? " Somebody said it was 
all over now with the candidature of the Prince of Hohen- 
zollern. "Yes," replied the Chief, "because he chose 
that it should be. Only a fortnight since I said to him, 
' There is still time.' But he had ceased to care for it." 
In the evening at tea-time somebody said that Borck was 
quite delighted to learn that we should pass our Christmas 
at home. He had said to the King, " People must be begin- 
ning to think about the Christmas gifts for the Queen." 
■" Ah," said Yltt Majesty, " and how long is it now till 
Christmas ?" " Five weeks, your Majesty." " Well, we shall 
be home by that time." A story or a misunderstanding, I 
believe. Let me make a note of it, however. 

Friday, November 18. — Thick mist in the morning, 
which cleared up about eleven, and gathered again a little 
in the afternoon. At breakfast we learn that General von 
Treskow has driven 7,000 moblots out of Dreux and 

10 Bismarck in the Franco-Gertnan War. [Chap. 

occupied the town. I asked whether I might telegraph 
the fact, and was told, " Yes," so that I did so. Afterwards 
I went out with Wollmann to Ville d'Avray for another 
look at Paris. When we got back the Bavarian Minister 
of War, von Pranky, was with the Chief, in the salon. 
In the office we talked about Keudell as hkely to come 
back to-morrow or on Sunday, and about a small sortie 
made against the position of the Bavarians, no details of 
which, however, had come in. The evening edition of 
the National Zeitung of the 15th, under the head of Great 
Britain, has notices of Regnier and his visits to us in 
Metz and to Eugdnie. He is a well-to-do proprietor, 
married to an Englishwoman, and a friend of Madame 
Lebreton, one of the Empress's ladies, who escaped from 
France before the war. Pie seems a volunteer diplomatist, 
and as we had previously guessed among ourselves, he 
appears to have undertaken his role of mediator on his 
own prompting. At dinner the guests were Count Bray, the 
Minister von Lutz, and von Mancler, a Wiirtemberg officer. 
Bray is a tall, lanky man with long, smooth-hanging hair 
plastered down the side of his head and behind his ears, 
clean-shaven all but a short poverty-stricken whisker, with 
thin lips, very thin hands and uncommonly long fingers. 
He says little, radiates a chill all round him, and certainly 
does not feel himself at home where he is. He might 
easily be taken for an Englishman. The usual Jesuit of our 
comic papers is very much his sort of figure. Lutz is the 
exact opposite, middle-aged, round, ruddy, with a black 
moustache, dark hair brushed high back from his forehead, 
with spectacles, brisk and talkative. Mancler is an uncom- 
monly handsome young fellow. The Chief is very good- 
humoured and sympathetic, but the conversation this time 
has no particular significance, turning mostly on beer 

XII.] Christmas here or at Home ? 1 1 

questions, in discussing which Lutz was much interested, 
and gave us a great deal of information. 

Saturday, November 19. — Nothing to do in the morning 
but to read through the papers. The Chief is occupied, 
I suppose, with the Bavarian aifair. Bray and Lutz have 
been with him again in consultation from one o'clock. In 
the evening the Minister dined with the King, and Counts 
Maltzahn and Lehndorf, and a c&rtain Herr von Zawadski 
with us. He is a green hussar, wearing a white patch with 
the red cross, the badge of the Knights of St. John, and the 
iron cross on a white ribbon. He has a full red face and 
wears a moustache. There is nothing to note about the 
conversation. Bets are made that there will be a great 
sortie to-morrow. Somebody has been told that the Ver- 
sailles people are to give us a new St. Bartholomew's night 
this evening, but nobody turns white at the news. 

Sunday, November 20. — The band of a Thuiingian re- 
giment woke the Chief up with a morning serenade. He sent 
them down something to drink. Afterwards he came out to 
the door, and took a glass in his hand, saying: ^'■Prosit! 
(good luck !) We shall drink to our speedy return to our 
mothers.'' The conductor asked him whether it would be 
long till that time. The Minister answered : " Well, we 
shan't spend our Christmas at home, though the Reserves 
may. The rest of us will have to stay here among the 
French. We have a great deal of money to get out of 
them. But we are sure to get it pretty soon," he added, 

In the afternoon I made an excursion through Ville 
d'Avray to Sfevres. Between the two, up on the hill by the 
railway bridge, there is a magnificent view over one quarter 
of Paris which lay before me in the bright afternoon sun- 
shine. I returned through Chaville and Viroflay. In the 

12 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

former village I came across a piece of soldiers' wit. They 
had converted the figures on the pillars at the two sides of 
a doorway into caricatures. A fisherman, or porter, with his 
trousers turned up to the knee had been made into a sort of 
sans-culotte, by giving him a muff and a pocket-handker- 
chief, covering his shoulders with red epaulettes, strapping a 
knapsack on his back, sticking a military cap behind his 
ears, and arming him with a rusty musket. I had no time 
to make out what the abbd on the other side represented. 
They had stuck a three-cornered hat with a tricolour cockade 
on his head, made him hold a huntsman's horn at his mouth, 
hung a wine-bottle round his neck by a string, and fastened 
a lantern in front of him. 

At dinner our guest was General von Werder, a long man 
with a dark moustache, who is Prussian Military Plenipo- 
tentiary at St. Petersburg. Soon after he came in, the Chief 
said, with a look of gratification on his face, "It is pos- 
sible that we may yet come to terms with Bavaria." " Yes," 
cried Bohlen, " something of the sort is already mentioned in 
the telegrams of one of the Berlin papers, the Volkszeitung, 
the Staatslmrger-Zeifung, or one of that kind." The Minister 
said, " I don't like that. It is too soon. After all, with the lot 
of respectable people who have nothing to do and who find 
things dull, there is little wonder that nothing can be kept 
quiet" Afterwards, I can't now recall in what connection, 
he happened to mention this anecdote of his youth : " When 
I was quite small, there was a ball or something of the sort 
given at our house, and when the company sat down to 
table, I looked out for a place for myself and found one 
somewhere in a corner where several gentlemen were seated. 
They puzzled over the little guest, and talked to each other 
about me in French : ' Who can the child be ? ' ' C'esf peut- 
iire un fils- de la maison, ou une fi ' (' Perhaps it is a boy of 

XII.] Jupiter Gagern. 13 

the family, or a girl '). ' C'est un fils, monsieur ' (' It is 
a boy, sir '), said I, quite unabashed, and they were not a 
little astonished." 

The conversation then turned on Vienna and Count 
Beust, and the Chief said that Beust was apologising for 
tlje uncivil note which had just appeared, declaring that 
Biegeleben, and not he, was the author. The conversation 
passed from him to the Gagerns, and, finally, to Heinrich 
Gagern, of whom people once thought so much. Talking 
about him, the Chief said, " He lets his daughter be brought 
up as a Catholic. If he thinks Catholicism the right thing 
there is nothing to be said ; but then he ought to become a 
Catholic himself What he is doing is mere inconsistency 
and cowardice." "I remember that, in 1850 or 1851, Man- 
teuffel had been ordered to try to arrange an understanding 
between Gagern's people and the Conservatives of the 
Prussian party — for as far, at least, as the king was willing 
to go on the German question." " He tried it with me and 
Gagern, and one day we were invited to his house to supper 
for three. Politics at first were hardly mentioned. Then 
Manteuffel made some excuse and left us together. As 
soon as he had gone, I tackled Gagern about politics, and 
explained my whole position in a very sober and business- 
like way. You should have heard Gagern. He put on his 
Jupiter face, lifted his eyebrows, bristled up his hair, rolled 
his eyes about, fixed them on the ceiling till they all but- 
cracked, and talked at me with his big phrases as if^I had 
been a_Eubhc m.e,eting. Of course__that got nothing out_of 
me. I answered him quite coolly, and we remained as far i 
apart as ever. When Manteuffel came back to us, and 
Jupiter had had time to disappear, Manteuffel asked me, 
' Well, what have you made up with each other ?' ' Indeed,' 
said I, ' nothing is made up. He is frightfully stupid — and 

14 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

takes me for a public meeting, the mere phrase-watering-pot 
of a fellow ! Nothing is to be done with him.' " 

We spoke of the bombardment, and the Chief said, " I 
said to the King once more, so late as yesterday, that it was 
now full time for it, and he had nothing to say against me. 
He told me that he had ordered it, but the generals said 
they were not ready.'' The conversation then turned on 
General von MoUendorff, who had just died, and who was 
said to have been a thoroughly fine old gentleman. Count 
Bismarck-Bohlen told a story of him. " In the affair at 
Schleswig, when shots were being fired in the distance, 
Wrangel rode up to MoUendorff in a state of great excite- 
ment to ask where the firing was going on. MoUendorff 
could not say. Wrangel abused him, saying that it was his 
duty to know, and burst away from us in a very theatrical 
style. After a little, MoUendorff said, ' This Wrangel is 
really half a brute and half a play actor. I sit here quietly 
master of the situation.' " The Minister capped the story 
with this other. " After the days of March, I remember 
that the troops were in Potsdam and the King in Berlin. 
When I went out to Potsdam a great discussion was going on 
what was to be done. MoUendorff, who was there, sat on a 
stool not far from me, looking very sour. They had peppered 
him so that he could only sit half on. One was advising 
this and another that, but nobody very well knew what to 
do. I sat near the piano, saying nothing, but I struck a 
couple of notes, ' Dideldum Dittera ' (here he hummed the 
beginning of the infantry double-quick step). The old 
fellow got up from his stool at once, his face iDeaming with 
delight, embraced me, and said, ' That's the right thing ! — I 
know what you mean — march on BerUn.' As things fell out, 
however, nothing came of it." 

After a little the Chancellor asked his guest, " What may 

XII.] Seeing the Emperor in Russia. 1 5 

every visit to the Emperor cost you now?" I don't re- 
member what Werder replied ; but the Chief went on : " In 
my time it was always a pretty dear thing, especially in 
Zarskoje;----! had always at that time to pay fifteen or 
twenty, sometimes five-and-twenty roubles, according as I 
went at the request of the Emperor or on my own account. 
In the case it was dearer. The coachman and 
footman who had fetched me, the house-steward who re- 
ceived me — and when I had been invited he had his sword 
at his side — the runner who preceded me through the whole 
length of the castle to the Emperor's room, and that must 
have been a thousand yards, all had to get something. You 
know him, of course, the fellow with the high round feathers 
on his head, like an Indian. He certainly earned his five 
roubles. And I never got the same coachman to take me 
back again. I could not stand these drains. We Prussians 
had very poor pay — 25,000 thalers (^3750) salary, and 
8000 thalers (^1200) for rent. No doubt I had a house 
for that as big and fine as any palace in Berlin. But the 
furniture was all old, faded, and shabby, and if I count in 
repairs and other expenses, it came to quite 9000 thalers 
(^^1350) a year. I found out, however, that I was not 
expected to spend more than my salary, so I eked it out 
by keeping no company. The French ambassador had 
;£t 2,000 a year, and was allowed to charge his government 
with the expense of all company which he could at all 
consider official." " But of course you had free firing, which 
comes to ^ good deal a year in St. Petersburg," said Werder. 
" I beg your pardon," answered the Chief, " I had to pay 
for that myself. But the wood would not have been so dear 
if the officials had not made it dear. I remember once 
seeing a fine load of wood on a Finland boat; I asked the 
people their price, and what they named was very moderate. 

iG Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

I was about to buy it, when they asked me (he said this in 
Russian) whether it was for the Treasury. I was imprudent 
enough to say not for the Imperial treasury, but (he again 
used the Russian words) for the Embassy of the King of 
Prussia. When I came back to settle and get the wood 
taken home, they had all run away. If I had given them 
the address of a merchant with whom I could have come to 
a private understanding, I should have had it for the third 

of what I should otherwise have paid. The " (he used 

again the Russian word for the Prussian ambassador) " was 
in their eyes another officer of the Czar's, and they thought, 
' No, when he has to settle with us he will say that we have 
stolen the wood, and throw us into prison till we let him 
have it for nothing.' "' He went on to tell other stories of 
the way in which the Tchinovniks torment and plunder the 
peasants, and came round again to the wretched pay of the 
Prussian ambassador compared with the others. " It is the 
same thing," he added, "in Berlin : a Prussian Minister gets 
10,000 thalers (;^i5oo), while the English ambassador gets 
63,000 (;£^94So), and the Russian, 44,000 (^6600) ; then 
he charges his government with the expense of all official 
entertainments, and when the Emperor stays with him he 
usually gets a full year's extra salary. No wonder we cannot 
keep pace with them.'' 

Monday, November 21. — ^The negotiations with Bavaria 
don't yet seem to be quite concluded, but he hopes he 
has brought them to a good end on essential points. The 
way in which it has been managed is not to be made out 
from what one hears. It seems clear to me that the result 
is a compromise in which we have maintained what is 
essential and given way to the wishes and demands of others 
in everything else. No sort of pressure certainly has been 
put upon them. It is conceivable that the question whether 

XII.] The Bavarian Convention. 17 

Elsass-Lothriiigen is to be retained or given back, has 
constrained them to settle. Elsass-Lothringen can only be 
asked from France in the name of and for all Germany. 
The north has no immediate need of it, but to the south, 
as history can tell the Particularists, it is as necessary as 
daily bread. Bavaria is a sharer in the benefit. It is only 
through her complete union with the north, which will 
show every consideration for all her wishes, that Bavaria 
can secure this wall of defence for herself in the west. It 
would not look well that the more and more emphatic hope 
and wish of the whole of Germany to recover that stolen 
property should be disappointed through the struggles of the 
Munich politicians against a closer union with the rest of 
the country. Some people in the north may possibly have 
contributed to make the Bavarians less obstinate. I don't 
know how much there may be in what I was told to-day at 
breakfast : " We might have had them earlier. But the 

sent some good friend of his to Munich who knew 

his feelings, who has dealt with them and shown them how 
satisfactory the minor concessions really were, so that Bray 
has already, probably, in his conference with the Minister, 
taken a paper out of his pocket saying, .Look here ; such 
and such men who are reasonably national, ask only so much. 
After which very little would remain to be said." 

Keudell is back and looking very well. About one o'clock 
the Chief has a conference with Odo Russell, who was pre- 
viously accredited from the Court of St. James's to Rome. 
He has probably to discuss with the Minister the preten- 
sions of Russia in respect to the Black Sea. After three, 
when the Chief goes to the King, I start with H. for the 
Hotel de Chasse, where we drink middling French beer 
among a crowd of officers and army doctors, and chat with 
the conversable landlady who dresses in black silks and 

VOL. II. c 

1 8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

manages her business from her pulpit-like throne. The 
Minister distributes among us a good many out of a parcel 
of three thousand cigars which he received, I believe, as 
a present from Bremen. I get my share. They are Pren- 
sados and excellent.. The Chief is not with us j we have 
Knobelsdorff as our guest. 

In the evening L. has a story that Garibaldi has inflicted 
a heavy defeat on us, in which six hundred of our cavalry 
were killed. Stupid chatter ! Why not say six thousand at 
once ? It costs no more breath. L. supposes that some- 
thing must be decided near Orleans to-morrow, as our men 
have surrounded the French. In the evening, a little before 
nine, Russell is again with the Chancellor, and remains till 
close on eleven. 

Tuesday, November 22. — Detestable rainy weather in the 
morning. While we are sitting at late breakfast Lutz has 
a talk with the Chief in the salon. The latter opens the 
door once and asks, " Can any of you gentlemen tell me 
how many members Bavaria has in the Customs parlia- 
ment?" I go to look it up in old Webet's Illustrated 
Calendar, but found no information in what is usually a 
good authority on such points. There must, however, have 
been forty-seven or forty-eight. After three the Russian 
General Annenkoff spends nearly an hour and a quarter with 
the Minister. At dinner we have Prince Pless and a Count 
Stolberg. The talk runs on a great discovery of fine wines 
which were hidden in some hill or cellar in Bougival. It has 
been duly confiscated according to the rules of war, as it falls 
under the head of sustenance. B., who is our high steward, 
complains that none of it has come our way. And, indeed, 
on every occasion the foreign office is served as shabbily as 
can be. They seem to try to palm off the most inconvenient 
lodgings on the Chief, and to succeed pretty generally in 

XII.] Shooting First. 19 

finding them. " Yes," says he, laughing. " They certainly 
don't behave nicely to me. It is most ungrateful of these 
mihtary people whose interests I have always defended in 
the Reichstag ! They will find me a changed man soon. 
When I started for the war I was all for them, when I get 
back I shall be a complete parliamentarian." Prince Pless 
praises the Wiirtemberg troops, who make an admirable 
impression, and who come next our own men in soldierly 
bearing. The Chancellor agrees with him, but must put a 
word in for the Bavarians. It seems to gratify him particu- 
larly that they make such short work in shooting down 
the Franc-tireur robbers. " Our North Germans go too 
much by the letter. When a bushranger of that sort shoots 
at a Holstein dragoon, the soldier flings himself from his 
horse, runs after the man with his heavy sabre, catches him 
and brings him to his lieutenant, who either lets him off or 
hands him over to his superior officer, who is sure to do so. 
The Bavarian knows better, and makes war in the good old 
way, not waiting till he has been shot at from behind, but 
shooting first." We have caviare and pheasant pasty on 
the table, the one provided by the Baroness von Keudell and 
the other by the Countess Hatzfeld ; and Swedish punch is 
handed round. 

In the evening there is Bernstorfif's note on the subject 
of the French frigate Desaix, which captured a German 
vessel in English waters, a letter to Lundy is prepared for 
our newspapers on the English supplying munitions of war 
to the French ; we advise them that they are no longer to 
defend Bazaine from the charge of treason, as " injurious to 
his feelings," and a telegram is despatched to say that for 
some days back the French Government has been refusing 
to let any foreigners out from Paris, including even diplo- 
matists, to whom our lines are still open as usual. 

c 2 

20 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

L. tells us that the prefect, von Brauchitsch, has ordered 
the French magistracy at Versailles, under penalty of 50,000 
francs (;^2ooo), to provide before December 5 a magazine 
of articles necessary for us, the stock of which is beginning 
to run low. Garibaldi has had a small success over our 
troops, after all ; our loss in killed, wounded, and missing 
not, however, exceeding 120 men. 

At tea-time we heard that H., who was with us in 
Meaux, had come back and been received by the Chief. 
According to Bohlen, he is a somewhat mysterious person- 
age, an agent of Napoleon's, though he is engaged on — 
perhaps, indeed, joint proprietor of — a very radical, demo- 
cratic newspaper in the Rhine Province, and though he gives 
himself out and, in Prussia, is considered to be a high-toned 
patriotic republican. It is in that capacity that the Govern- 
mental President von introduces him to us. What 

there may be in the object of his present visit to bring the 
two halves of this double nature together is far from 
clear. We talked afterwards of a gentleman who, in despair 
at the goings on of certain personages in the Hotel des 
Reservoirs, meant soon to enrol himself among the demo- 
crats, if he had not already done so. 

Wednesday, November 23. — Early this morning I said to one 
of the councillors, " Do you know how matters are now getting 
on with the Bavarian negotiations ? Will the affair be settled, 
do you suppose, this evening ? " — " Yes," he said, "unless 
something new turn up ; but any trifle might break them off." 
— " Do you know what was the point on which the negotia- 
tions nearly came to grief a short time ago ? " — " You would 
never guess ; it was the question of collars or epaulettes." 
As I was called away at the moment, I could not solve 
this riddle ; but I learned afterwards that the question had 
been whether the Bavarian officers were in future to wear the 

XII.] Bavarian Vigour. 21 

mark of their rank, as hitherto, on their collars or on their 
shoulders, like the North Germans. ... At dinner we had 
a hussar with the Geneva sash, and an infantry soldier with 
shoulder straps ; the former the Silesian Count Frankenberg, 
a big, tall, dignified-looking man, with a large ruddy 'beard ; 
the latter. Prince Putbus. They were both decorated with 
the Iron Cross. They talked over the excitement in 
Berlin over the delay of the bombardment, and about the 
grumbling there on that account. The report that one of the 
reasons of the delay was the interference of ladies in a high 
position appears now to circulate everywhere. . . . The con- 
versation turned on the attitude of the French peasantry, 
and Putbus said that a Bavarian officer had burned down 
the whole of a fine village and ordered the wine in the 
cellars to be run into the streets, because the peasants there 
had behaved treacherously. Somebody else remarked that 
the soldiers, somewhere or other, had frightfully beaten a 
curate, who had been apprehended for some alleged treachery. 
The Minister again praised the energy of the Bavarians, but 
as to the second case, he added, " We must either treat the 
country people with as much consideration as possible or 
altogether deprive them of the power to harm us, one thing 
or the other." And, after musing a little, he added, " Polite- 
ness as far as the last step of the gallows, but hanging for 
all that. One can afford to be gruff only to one's friends, 
being convinced that they won't take it ill; how much sharper 
one is, for instance, with one's own wife than with other 

There was some talk about the Duke of Coburg, and 
afterwards about the aqueduct at Marly, which had not 
been touched by the guns of the forts ; and then Prince 
Putbus spoke of a certain Marchioness Delia Torre, who 
had, he said, had a somewhat stormy past, who liked cam- 
paigning, who had been with Garibaldi before Naples, had 

22 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

been staying here with us for some time, and was going 
about with the Geneva Cross. Somebody spoke of the 
picture which had been ordered from Bleibtreu, and another 
of the guests spoke of the rough sketch of a picture repre- 
senting General Reille bringing Napoleon's letter to the King 
on the hill before Sedan. They said that the General was 
taking off his hat as if he was about to shout Hurrah ! or Vivat ! 
The Chief remarked : " He behaved himself throughout with 
propriety and dignity. I had a talk with him alone while 
the King was writing the answer. He represented to me 
that we ought not to impose hard conditions on so large an 
army which had fought so Avell. I shrugged my shoulders. 
Then he said that before they would give in to such con- 
ditions, they would blow themselves up sky-high with the 
fortress. I said, ' Do it if you like.' ' Faites sauter! Then 
I asked him whether the Emperor was quite sure of his 
army and his officers. He said, ' Certainly ! ' And 
whether his orders would still be obeyed in Metz. Reille 
said they would, and we have since seen that at that time he 
was right. If he had made peace then, I believe he would 
now have been a reigning sovereign; but he is — as I said 
sixteen years since, when nobody wo"uld believe me — stupid 
and sentimental." 

In the evening L. told us that a misfortune had 
happened to one of the newspaper correspondents here. 
Dr. Kreissler, who furnishes news to the Berlin papers, is 
said to have disappeared some eight days ago, during a 
journey he made to Orleans, and it is feared that he.may 
have been killed by the Francs-tireurs, or at least taken 
prisoner.* We should not have been so sorry if the same 
fate had overtaken a correspondent of some Vienna and 

* It was subsequently discovered that Dr. Kreissler had been made 

XII.] The Three Pens. 23 

Frankfort papers, which are hostile to Prussia, viz. a certain 
Voget, who, it appears, imagines himself privileged to circu- 
late all sorts of lies all over the world under shelter of the 
German authorities. At the very beginning of the war, at 
Saarbriicken, he got into a quarrel with our officers ; and he 
has now been impudent enough to say that the Prussians 
left the Bavarians in the lurch at Orlean.':, by not coming up 
to their assistance at the right time, thus making them the 
real cause of the defeat. To banish him from the army 
would be a much more sensible thing than what we did 
about poor Hoff. 

About ten o'clock I went in to tea, and found Bismarck- 
Bohlen and Hatzfeld still there. The Chief was engaged 
with the three Bavarian plenipotentiaries in the salon. After 
a quarter of an hour or so, he threw open the folding-doors, 
put his head in, looked round kindly, and, when he saw that 
there were several of us, came up to us and sat down at the 
table with- a glass in his hand.. " Now," said he excitedly, 
"the Bavarian business is settled, and everything signed. 
We have got our German unity, and our Emperor." There 
was silence for a moment. Then I begged to be allowed 
to take the pen, with which he had signed the document. 
" In God's name," said he, " take all three of them, if you 
like; but the gold pen is not there." I went and took 
possession of the three pens which were lying beside the 
document, two of them still wet. (W. afterwards told me 
that the one the Chancellor had used was that wi&i feathers 
on both sides.) Two empty champagne bottles stood on 
the table. " Bring us another," said the Chief to a servant, 
"it is a great occasion." After musing a little, he re- 
marked, " The newspapers won't be satisfied, and a his- 
torian writing in the ordinary spirit may very likely con- 
demn our convention. He may say [I am giving his exact 

24 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

words, as I always do where I use quotation marks], ' The 
stupid fellow might easily have asked for more ; he would 
have got it ; they would have had to give in to him ; his might 
was his right' I was more anxious that these people should 
go away heartily satisfied. What are treaties worth which 
people are forced to sign? I know that they went away 
satisfied. I don't want to press them, or to take full advan- 
tage of the situation. The convention has its defects, but it 
is the stronger on account of them. I count it the most 
important thing which we have accomplished during recent 
years." . . . " As for the Emperor, I reconciled them to that 
during the negotiations by representing that it would be much 
pleasanter and easier to concede certain points to the German 
Emperor than to the neighbouring King of Prussia." . . . 
Afterwards, over a second bottle which he drank with us 
and Abeken, who had come in, in the meantime, he began 
to talk about his death, and mentioned the exact age at 
which it would happen. ..." I know it," he said, when 
somebody remonstrated, " it is a mystic number." 

Thursday, November 24. — Hard work in the morning. 
Wrote several articles in the sense of yesterday evening's 
conversation with the Chief on the convention with Bavaria. 
In the afternoon, we went together for a walk in the park 
of the ditteau, and W. told me how a Colonel K. had put 
an advocate somewhere in the Ardennes in prison for trea- 
sonable relations with a band of Francs-tireurs. The court- 
martial had condemned him to death, and he had begged 
for remission of the sentence. The Chief, however, had 
heard of it, and had made_ them write to-day to the War 
Minister to use his influence with the King to let justice 
take its course. 

At dinner. Count Tilly, of the General Staff, and Major 
Hill were the principal guests. He again complained that 

XII.] The Delay of the Bombardment. 25 

the military authorities talked too little to him, and asked 
his opinion too seldom. " It was so, for instance, with the 
appointment of Vogel von Falkenstein, who has just raised 
the Jacoby trouble. If I have to speak about that business 
in the Reichstag, I shall wash my hands of it all. They 
could have done nothing more disagreeable to me." " When 
the war began," he went on to say, " I was a keen partisan 
of the military people. I shall side with the parliamentarians 
for the future, and if they worry me further, I shall take my 
seat somewhere on the extreme left." The convention with 
Bavaria was mentioned, and the difficulties in connection 
with it were set down to the account of the National Party, 
on which the Minister said, "It is quite extraordinary 
how many very intelligent people understand nothing what- 
ever about politics." Then changing the subject suddenly, 
he said : " The English are beside themselves. Their journals 
are shouting for war, on account of a letter in which there is 
nothing but a statement of a particular view of what is right. 
For that is all there is in Gortchakoff's note,'' which he 
went on further to discuss. Afterwards he began to speak 
once more of the delay in the bombardment ; which was 
making him anxious for political reasons. " We have col- 
lected there an immense siege park," he said ; " all the world 
is expecting us to begin, and up to this moment the guns are 
standing idle. It has certainly damaged us with the neutral 
powers. The effect of the success of Sedan has been lessened 
quite enormously in consequence, and for what object, after 

Friday, November 25. — Before breakfast, I telegraphed 
the capitulation of Thionville, which happened during the 
night. I prepared, for the King's reading, an article in the 
Neue Freie Presse, describing Granville's note as feeble and 
colourless, and I took care that all our newspapers should 

26 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

reproduce the telegrams of July last, assuring Napoleon 
of the concurrence of the French people in the declaration 
of war he then sent us. 

In the afternoon I spent an hour with W. in the gallery 
of historical portraits in the chateau, which of its kind is of 
the greatest value, and which includes a very interesting 
half-length of Luther. Afterwards we had a walk through 
the principal streets of the town to the two chief churches, 
and to Hoche's monument. We met, as usual, crowds 
of priests, nuns, and monks, and marvelled at the number 
of wine-shops and coffee-houses which supply Versailles. 
One of these establishments is called the " Smoking Dog " 
(^Au Ckien qui fume), a dog with a tobacco pipe in his 
mouth being painted on the signboard. The people at the 
door-steps, and especially the women, were everywhere 
polite. The newspapers say that mothers and nurses turn 
their backs when a German pats a child on the cheek. I 
have never seen anything of the kind ; on the contrary, they 
were always quite pleased, and said, " Faites minette d, man 
sieur/" (" Curtsey to the gentleman "). No doubt, the upper 
classes are seldom seen in the streets, and when they do 
appear, the ladies are in mourning — for the misfortunes of 
their country, of course — and because black is becoming. 

During his usual evening visit, L. told us that Samwer had 
been away again for some time, and had not, as the news- 
papers told us, been appointed prefect anywhere, but that 
the town has had the privilege of harbouring another inter- 
esting personage, the American spiritualist Home, who has 
come over here, I believe, from London with introductions 
to the Crown Prince. 

Saturday, November 26. — ^Wrote several articles; one 
on the extraordinary list of honourable mentions by 
Trochu in the Figaro of the 22 nd. The Chief read out to 

XII.] Troclms Heroes. 27 

me portions of passages which he had marked in pencil, 
saying, " Many of the heroic deeds of these defenders of 
Paris are sucli commonplace affairs that Prussian generals 
would never think them worth mentioning. Some of them 
are mere brag ; others manifest impossibiUties. Trochu's 
heroes have made more prisoners, if you count them up, 
than the French have done altogether during the whole siege 
of Paris. Captain Montbrisson distinguished himself by 
marching at the head of an assaulting column, and getting 
himself lifted over a park-wall to make a reconnaissance — as 
it was his bounden duty to do. Then you have the farce of 
a soldier called Gletty, who made three Prussians prisoners 
— par la fermete de son attitude. It was the firmness of his 
attitude which brought our Pomeranians to their knees ! It 
might be all well enough in a Paris theatre on the Boulevards, 
or in a circus, but fancy it in real life ! Then there was Hoft", 
who killed neither more nor fewer than seven-and-twenty 
Prussians in different single combats. This three-times-nine 
man must certainly be a Jew, perhaps the cousin of Malzhoff 
in one of the Wilhelmstrasses. At all events he is a miles 
gloriosus. Lastly, we have Terreaux, who captured z.f anion 
(colour) along with the staff to which it was fastened. Pro- 
perly speaking, that is the colour of a company, which we 
do notjhave in Germany. Such is the stuff a commander- 
in-chief publishes officially. This list of honourable mentions 
reminds me of the battle-pieces of " Toutes les Gloires de la 
France" (in Versailles), where every drummer-boy from 
Sebastopol and Magenta has had his portrait taken for 
beating his drum." 

Count Schimmelmann (a light blue hussar, with a face of 
a somewhat Oriental type, apparently in his last twenties) 
and Hatzfeld's brother-in-law (a brisk and self-confident 
American) were the Chancellor's guests to-night. He said 

28 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to us : "I was yesterday the victim of a whole swarm of 
mishaps, one after the other. First, I was to have had a 
conversation with Odo Russell, who had important business. 
I sent him a message to wait a couple of minutes for me, 
as I was occupied with another pressing matter. After a 
quarter of an hour I came out, and found him gone, and the 
peace of Europe may perhaps have depended upon it." 
Then about twelve I go off to wait on the King, and fall 

by the way into the hands of , who compels me to 

listen to a letter, and holds me prisoner a long while. In 
that way I lose a whole hour, during which telegrams of 
great importance ought to have been despatched. The 
people concerned may perhaps not have got them to-day at 
all, and decisions may have been come to and relationships 
estabhshed in the meantime which may have very serious 
consequences for the whole of Europe, and may completely 
alter the political situation. All this happened," he said, 
" because it was a Friday." 

Afterwards he asked, " Have any of you gentlemen told 
the Mayor to provide properly in the Trianon for the King 
of Bavaria ? " Hatzfeld replied that he had himself seen 
the Mayor about the matter. The Chief replied, " Excel- 
lent ; I hope he will come. I never imagined that I should 
have to play the part of house-steward of the Trianon. 
What would Napoleon I. and Louis XIV. have said to that?" 
Somebody remarked that the American spiritualist Home 
had been here several days, and had been invited to dine 
with the Crown Prince. Eucher described him as a 
dangerous man, and added that he had been condemned 
in England for some underhand business about a legacy. 
After dinner he told me that, according to the newspapers, 
Home had some time ago swindled a legacy in his own 
favour out of a rich widow, that the lawful heir had prose- 

Xll.] Mr. Home, the Spiritualist. 29 

cuted him, and that he had ultimately been condemned by 
the court to pay a large sum in damages. It was to 
be feared that he had been sent here now by somebody to 
influence important personages to our injury, and Bucher 
said he would try to induce the Chief to get the fellow 
turned away. 

In the evening I extracted several articles from the 
Moniteur for the King's reading, and read Treitschke's 
paper upon Luxemburg and the German Empire in the 
Preussische Jahrhiccher. From half-past eleven till after half- 
past twelve at night, there was another violent cannonade 
into space from the forts or the gunboats. The Chief 
remarked, " It is a long time since they heard themselves 
speak. Don't let us grudge them the pleasure." 

Sunday, November 27. — In the morning we received the 
speech made at the opening of the Reichstag. I sent it imme- 
diately to L., so that he might translate it and get it printed 
in the newspapers. After twelve, Russell appeared again. 
The Chief asked him to wait for ten minutes, and spent that 
time walking up and down with Bucher in the garden. As 
there was nothing to do, I made a call alone with H. in La 
CeUe, and on the road back was stopped three times by the 
sentinels, a thing which never happened to me before. After 
spending an hour in a pleasant chat with H. and the other 
officers, in the stately chateau over the market-place, I started 
for home. An official who was going back to the town in 
a handsome carriage gave me a place beside him. He had 
found the horse and carriage shut up in a stable at Bougival, 
and had taken them quietly away. He appears also to be 
the discoverer and distributor of the great find of wine which 
was made there, but which is now pretty nearly finished. 

Count Lehndorf and a Bavarian officer (Count Holnstein), 
a handsome, straight-built man, with a full red face and a 

30 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

pleasant open manner, apparently, we thought, about thirty 
years of age, were at dinner. I hear that he is the Master 
of the Horse to King Ludwig, and one of his confidants. 
The Chief spoke first about the Russian affair, and said : 
"Vienna, Florence, and Constantinople have kept quiet 
about it so far ; but Petersburg and London, which have 
spoken, are the important places. It will all come right in 
the end." Then he told several anecdotes of his sportsman's 
life — of chamois-hunting, "for which he has not breath 
enough now"; of the heaviest wild boar he had killed, "the 
head alone weighed between 99 and loi lbs. ''; and of the 
biggest bear he had shot. Our relations with Munich came 
up later in tlie evening, and Holnstein remarked that before 
the war broke out, the French embassy had been completely 
mistaken about the attitude of Bavaria. It had got its infor- 
mation from two or three red-hot Catholic and anti-Prussian 
drawing-rooms. It considered the victory of the patriots 
certain, and had even believed that the King would have to 
go. The Chief replied, " I never doubted that Bavaria 
would side with us, but I certainly could not have hoped 
that she would have decided so soon." Afterwards we talked 
about the shooting of the treacherous Africans; and Holnstein 
said that a shoemaker in Munich, from whose windows the 
procession of the Turco prisoners who had been marched in 
there could be very well seen, had made a good deal of money 
by charging for the view, and had handed over 79 guldens 
(;^8) to the fund for our wounded. Numerous spectators 
came even from Vienna to see the spectacle. The Chief said, 
" It was against my incUnation that these black fellows got 
taken prisoners at all." Holnstein answered, " I believe, 
too, that you don't do so now." The Chief replied, " If I 
had my will, I should put every soldier under arrest who 
takes such a fellow prisoner and hands him over to the 

XII.] Good News for Versailles. 31 

authorities. They are a robber gang who ought to be shot 
down. The fox may plead that it is its nature, but for these 
fellows, it is most horrible and monstrous. They tortured 
our soldiers. to death in the shamefullest way." 

After dinner, at which we always smoke, the Minister gives 
us each a big, full-flavoured, first-rate cigar, saying, "Pass 
the bottle.'' His grateful countrymen have recently been 
particularly mindful to supply him with cigars, and on his 
sideboard stands box upon box of weeds, so that, God 
be praised, he has enough of what he likes in that way. 

L. told us that Home left yesterday, if I understood him 
rightly. He has ordered the Moniteur to be sent after him to 
London, having subscribed to the paper for a month. Perhaps 
this and the whole affair of his journey to our head-quarters 
may have been only a ghostly spiritualist hocus-pocus ; but it 
looks suspicious that this Cagliostro from Yankee-land should 
have asked whether he might speak to the son of Worth, the 
great London tailor, who " lets duchesses wait in his salon," 
and who was caught in one of the balloons. It is said that 
Home will come back again. L. tells us, further, that our 
Versailles friends have been made happy these last few days 
by a supply of pleasant news. Thiers and Favre, some say 
Trocliu too, have been in the town to negotiate with King 
Wilham. Garibaldi, whom our generals have driven away 
from Dole, has recaptured Dijon, according to the myths 
of our Versailles friends, and in so doing made prisoners 
no fewer than 20,000 German soldiers. A German prince 
or Highness has fallen into the hands of the French in the 
neighbourhood of Paris. The King offered Marshals 
Bazaine and Canrobert in exchange for him, but the offer 
was not accepted. Prince Frederick Charles, finally, has 
been defeated at Rambouillet, Dreux, and Chateaudun, the 
very opposite being the fact ; and so on. " Hope springs 
eternal in the human breast." 

32 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 




Monday, November 28. — Early in the morning I telegraph 
the capitulation of La Ffere, with 2000 men, and the vic- 
tory of Manteuffel on the Somme at Ladon and Maizibres. 
Afterwards I prepared an article on the Convention with 
Bavaria. The Chief asks about Home, and I tell him that 
he is gone, but is expected back. He orders me to write at 
once to the military authorities that if Home returns without 
a permit, he is to be immediately put in prison, and word 
brought to the Chief. If he appears with a permit, he is to 
be watched as a treacherous spy and swindler, and his arrival 
reported at once to the Minister. 

In the afternoon Bucher and I made a carriage excursion 
to St. Cyr ; Prince Pless and Count Maltzahn were with us 
at dinner. The Minister spoke, first of all, of the American 
spiritualist, and told us what he thought of him, and what he 
had arranged to have done about him. "Bohlen said : "And 
you know, too, that Garibaldi also has taken himself off." 
Somebody said : " If we could catch him he ought to be shot, 
for he had no business to shove himself into this war." " He 
should first be put in a cage and exhibited publicly," said 
Bohlen. " No," said the Minister, " I would try another 
plan. I would send the prisoners to Berlin, with bits of 
pasteboard round their necks, and the word ' Gratitude ' 
printed on them. After which they should be shown through 

XIII.] Napoleon at Sedan. 33 

the town." Bohlen said : " And then to Spandau." The 
Chief answered, " Or you might write on the card ' From 
Venice to Spandau.' " , 

Afterwards we talked about Bavaria, and the situation in 
Munich. Somebody, in what connection I don't recollect, 
once more referred to the circumstances of Reille's appear- 
ance at Sedan, and it seemed as if the King then expected 
more from the letter of the Emperor Napoleon, as, indeed, 
according to what the Minister said once before, he had 
been justified in doing. The Emperor ought not to have 
surrendered himself a prisoner there with no object; he 
should have concluded peace with us. The generals would 
have stood by him. Then we talked about the bom- 
bardment, and, in connection with it, of Bishop Dupanloup 
and his present intrigues, and afterwards of the part he 
had played in the opposition at the Council. " I remem- 
ber,'' said the Chancellor, " that the Pope wrote a very clear 
letter to the French Bishops, or to several of them, order- 
ing them not to mix themselves up with the Garibaklians." 
Somebody said that something lay very much at his heart. 
The Chief answered, " What is nearest my heart just now 
is what may be going on at the Villa Coublay. If they 
would give me the command-in-chief for four-and-twenty 
hours, and I were to take the responsibility on myself, 
I should give just one order — ' Fire !' " The Villa Coublay 
is a place not very far from here, where the siege artillery 
is collected in a park, instead of being brought into the 
forts and batteries, and the Chancellor has made the most 
urgent representations to hasten the bombardment. " You 
have 300 guns, all told," he went on; "and fifty or 
sixty mortars, and for every piece you have five hundred 
rounds — surely that is enough. I have spoken to artillerists 
who say that at Strassburg they did not use half of what 


34 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap, 

is already piled up here, and, compared with Paris, Strass- 
burg was a Gibraltar." " Perhaps you might have to fire 
some barracks in Mont Val^rien, . and overwhelm Forts 
Issy and Vanvres with your grenades, so as to clear them 
out. The enceinte is very weak, and the ditch no bigger 
than the length of this room." " I am convinced that if we 
could throw grenades for four or five days into the town 
itself, and they once saw that we can fire further than they 
can, namely, 9000 yards, they would sing small in Paris. 
No doubt the fine quarters lie on this side of the town, and 
the people in Belleville would not care a straw though they 
were all wrecked. Indeed, they would rub their hands over 
the destruction of the houses of the rich." "We might 
certainly have left Paris alone, and gone further, but now 
that we have begun it we must put it through. The plan of 
starving them out may take a long while yet, perhaps till the 
beginning of the year. They have certainly meal up till 
January. If we had only begun the bombardment four 
weeks ago, we should in all probability have been by this 
time in Paris, which is the vital point. As it is, the 
Parisians fancy that London, St. Petersburg, and Vienna 
are keeping us from firing, and the neutral Powers believe, 
in their turn, that we can't do it. Some day, however, the 
real reasons will be revealed." 

In the evening I telegraphed to London that the Reichstag 
had again voted a hundred million thalers (;^i5,ooo,ooo) 
towards the prosecution of the war with France, and that 
eight social democrats only voted against it, also that 
jManteuffel had occupied Amiens. Afterwards several 
articles were prepared, one to defend the Chancellor and 
explain how satisfactory his position had been in the nego- 
tiations with Bavaria, and how much had been due both to 
his moderation and his sagacity. The vital point, as I said. 

XIII.] Stolen Pictures. 35 

was not that any particular concession should be got out of 
the Munich people, but that the South German States should 
feel at home in the organisation of the new German state. 
Any pressure or constraint to extract further concessions 
from them would be ingratitude, especially as they have 
fully discharged their patriotic obligations. It would, 
besides, be bad policy to press any more urgent claims 
on our allies. The discontent which would be the in- 
evitable consequence would do us far more harm than 
half-a-dozen slightly improved paragraphs in a treaty could 
ever do us good. It would at once reveal to the neutral 
powers, Austria and the rest of them, the place where a 
wedge might be driven home, which might loosen and 
in the end split to pieces the unity Just realised. 

L. told us that somebody had been stealing from the 
Gallery of Historical Portraits in the chateau — two portraits, 
of a Princess Mary of Lothringen and of the La Vallifere, 
having been carried off. An investigation was set on foot 
immediately, and it was shown that the thief had used 
a double key, and must have been familiar with the ways 
of the custodians, so that the theft can hardly be set 
down to any foreigner. It is perfectly certain, however, 
that the French will say that we carried the pictures off 
with us. 

From half-past nine till after one in the morning the 
sound of a brisk renewed cannonade from the north side 
could be made out. 

Tuesday, November 29. — In the morning the mouths of 
the French cannon growl out to us a savager salute than 
ever, while I have the gratification to telegraph new triumphs 
of the German arms. Yesterday, for instance. Garibaldi 
had severe losses at Dijon, and Prince Frederick Charles's 
troops defeated the more numerous French army opposed 

D 2 

$6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to them at Beaune la Rolande. When I laid the second of 
these telegrams before the Chief, he said, " To say many 
hundred prisoners is to say nothing j many hundreds 
means at least a thousand. To put our loss at a thousand 
men, and say nothing more of the enemy than that he 
sustained severe losses, would be a piece of clumsiness of 
which we ought to have too much sense to be guilty. I 
■beg you in future to make up your telegrams more 

At breakfast we learn that the thunder of the cannon 
was to support a sortie of the Parisians in the direction of 
Villeneuve, where the Bavarians are, which was repulsed. 
A few shots were still to be heard from the forts as late as 
one o'clock. Something more seems to have been expected, 
for several batteries are standing ready to start, on the 
Avenue de Saint-Cloud. 

In the afternoon I sent off another article on the con- 
vention with Bavaria, which is to be reproduced in various 
forms- in Berlin. A grudging dissatisfaction seems to be 
the prevailing mood there. Afterwards I ran off to the little 
place at Chesnay, where my lieutenants are having all sorts 
of fun. I found them, for instance, singing the song of the 
eleven thousand virgins of Cologne. 

We had Lieutenant-Colonel von Hartrott at dinner. 
The conversation turned on the distribution of the Iron 
Cross, and the Chief observed, " The doctors ought to have 
it on their black and white sashes ; they are under fire, and 
it takes much more courage and sense to let yourself be 
shot at without doing anything than to go with a storming 
party." Blumenthal said to me that he at any rate could 
not earn one, for it is his duty to keep himself out of 
danger of being shot. Accordingly he always looks out 
for a place from which he can have a good view of every- 

XIII.] A Friend indeed. 37 

thing, with very little chance of being hit ; and he is quite 
right ; a general who exposes himself needlessly ought 
to be put under arrest. We talked next of the handling of 
the army, and he said, " Modesty and moderation are the 
only things to ensure victory ; conceit and insolence being 
certain defeat." Then he asked Hartrott whether he was a 
Brunswicker. " No," he said, " I am from the district of 
Aschersleben." " I made out from your accent," said the 
Minister, " that you came from the Harz, but not from 
which side." Aschersleben suggested Magdeburg, which 
reminded him of his friend Dietze, of whom he said, " He is 
the most estimable man I know, his house is the pleasantest 
and most comfortable for a visitor I have ever been in. 
There is good hunting and capital keep, and his wife is 
perfectly charming. Then he is full of that genuine native 
heartiness — the politesse de cceur — nothing made up. What 
a difference between a hunting party given by a man who 
goes out without a gun, and whose delight it is to see his 
friends shoot well, and one where it is perfectly understood 
that the master is to have most of the shooting, and that 
bad temper and swearing at the servants are a matter of 
course, if he does not get it." Abeken wondered whether 
politesse de cceur was native French or imported. " Not a 
doubt," said the Chief, " that the phrase was borrowed from 
us. The thing itself exists only among the Germans. I 
should call it the courteousness of good-will and of kindly 
feeling in the best sense of the word — the courteousness 
of a man inclined to be helpful to one. You come across 
it among our common soldiers, often certainly in the clum- 
siest forms. But the French have none of it ; their cour- 
teousness is begotten only of hatred and envy." He went 
on to say that the English had something of the sort, and 
praised Odo Russell, whose natural and straightforward 

38 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

ways were thoroughly to his liking. " One thing only made 
me at first a little suspicious of him. I had always heard, 
and my own experience had confirmed it, that an English- 
man who could speak good Ftench was a doubtful character, 
and Odo Russell speaks French quite admirably. But 
then he speaks German just as well." 

At dessert he said, " I see that I eat too much, or perhaps 
too much at a time. I can't get out of the stupid habit of 
eating only once a day. Some time ago it was even worse. 
I used to drink my cup of tea early in the morning, and 
tasted no food at all till five o'clock at night. I smoked 
' even on,' and it did me a great deal of harm. Now my 
doctors make me take at least a couple of eggs in the 
morning, and I don't smoke much. But I ought to eat 
oftener, only if I take anything late I am kept awake all 
night digesting it." 

In the evening I had again to telegraph the news of 
our victory at Beaune, the French attempt to break 
through in the direction of Fontainebleau, with the bulk 
of the Loire army, having been utterly baffled. After- 
wards I was directed to send off a telegram to the War 
Ministry in Berlin, requesting them to issue letters of cap- 
tion, and to send them to us for publication in the French 
papers, after all the French officers who have broken their 
parole and made their escape from captivity, a practice 
which is becoming alarmingly frequent among these gentle- 
men. Afterwards he showed me a report from an adjutant 
of K&atry, the commander of the Breton army, on the 
absurd and theatrical pardoning of a soldier, which I was 
told to reproduce, with a little commentary, in our Moniteur, 
and which I give here as a specimen of the way in which 
these new-fangled dilettanti officers show off, and how they 
get themselves noticed and praised in the newspapers. A 

XIII.] K^ratrys Forgiveness. 39 

few days ago, Count Kdratry authorised the following publi- 
cation : — 

" Camp de Conlie, November 18, midnight. 
" The General commanding (Keratry) authorises me 
to send you the following despatch : ' This was a day 
never to be forgotten in the army of Brittany. A soldier 
who had been condemned to be shot at two o'clock was 
pardoned. He had been guilty of great insubordination to 
the Commandant of the Camp, General Bonedec. Since 
his condemnation, the army chaplain and officers of the gene- 
ral staff had interceded on his behalf General Keratry's 
answer was that it was out of his power to pass the thing 
over. Accordingly all the troops in camp were gathered 
about one o'clock to-day, to be present at the execution of 
the sentence. About twOj everything was in readiness. The 
condemned man stood between two field chaplains, expect- 
ing every moment would be his last. He had shown con- 
siderable fortitude the whole day, as he knew that there was 
no longer the faintest hope of pardon. At the appointed 
hour, the sentence was read before all the troops. Then 
came the first rattle of the drum : at the second all would 
be over. The coffin was ready, and the grave dug. It was 
a frightful moment. Just when the last signal was to have 
been given, Monsieur de Keratry stepped forward, cried 
' Halt !' and in a clear ringing voice said (really just as in 
a genuine melodrama), ' Officers and men of the army of 
Brittany ! One of our soldiers, guilty of an act of insubor- 
dination, has been sentenced to death by court-martial; I 
grant him a free pardon; but in future every offence against 
discipline will be punished without mercy. I hope that this 
lesson may be sufficient to prevent any offence against the 
Articles of War or disobedience to the orders of your officers, 
and that I shall be rewarded for my leniency by a discipline 

40 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

beyond reproach. That justice may be impartial, I remit 
all the other sentences at present in force.' This speech 
was received with tremendous acclamations, and shouts of 
' Vive Kdratry ' (just as in the theatre). The officers of the 
general staff, who had asked for the man's pardon, were 
deeply touched. All the troops then marched past the 
General commanding; and although ordered to march in 
silence, they kept shouting ' Long live Kdratry !' In the 
evening the officers of tlie general staff expressed their grati- 
tude to the Count. His gracious act has made a deep im- 
pression on the soldiers. The result will, I hope, be that 
they will give him a confidence never to be shaken." 

The ludicrously theatrical nature of the people at present 
in authority in France could not be better illustrated than 
by the publication of such a document. The brave French 
soldiers who have to fight for the maintenance in power 
of such stage-heroes, are much to be pitied. 

A single example, to ' show the line our servants take 
about the delay of the bonibardment, and the sort of myths 
which circulate in their circles. As I was, for the last 
time to-day, going up the staircase leading to my room from 
the story in which the Chief lives, Engel, in great delight, 
called after me : " Doctor, things are right now ; all will soon 
be over with Paris." " How is that ? I don't think it can 
last long. But you are not going to begin the bombard- 
ment ?" " No, Doctor, I know, but I mustn't say a word." 
" Oh, speak quite freely." Then he whispered something to 
this effect in my ear, on the stair-landing : " The King told 
our Excellency to-day, at tlie War Minister's, ' The bombard- 
ment comes off on the 2nd !' " 

After ten o'clock the French began another furious can- 
nonade from their fortSj with what object, nobody can make 

XIII.] WAat might have been. 41 

out. At tea, when the Chief was with us, fuller favourable 
accounts came in of yesterday's battle. We then spoke of 
the delay of the bombardment — a subject coming every day 
more prominently into the foreground — and of the Geneva 
Convention, of which the Chief remarked that we must 
tolerate the thing, but that it was nonsense, and that war 
could not be carried on that way. It appears that Del- 
briick has not telegraphed quite distinctly what are the 
prospects of the arrangements with Bavaria being carried 
in the Reichstag. It seems as if the Reichstag could not 
make up its mind to decisive action, and the convention 
concluded at Versailles were to be attacked both by the 
Progress party and the National Liberals. The Chief said : 
" As for the Progress fellows, they are quite consistent. 
They would like us back in 1849. But these National 
Liberals ! If they will not take what, at the beginning of the 
year they were struggling for with all their might, and what 
they may now have by putting out their hand, we must 
dissolve their Reichstag. The Progress party would be 
weakened by a new election, and several of the National 
Liberals would not come back either. But the convention 
would for the present be torn to pieces. Bavaria would re- 
consider her position ; Beust would stick his finger in the 
pie, and nobody knows what might happen. I can't well go 
off to Berlin. It is very inconvenient, and takes up a good 
deal of time when I am really wanted here." In this con- 
nection he spoke also of the state of matters in 1848 : 
" At that time things looked well for a while for a union of 
Germany under Prussia. The little princes were mostly 
powerless and in despair. If only they could have had a 
good deal of property secured to themselves — domains, ap- 
panages, &c. — ^most of them would have willingly consented 
to everything else. The Austrians had their hands full with 

42 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Hungary and Italy. The Emperor Nicholas would, at that 
time, have made no protest. If before May, 1849, we had 
put our backs into it, been decided, and settled up with 
the minor princes, we might have had the south, for the 
armies of Bavaria and Wiirtemberg were inchned to side 
with the revolution in Baden, which at that time was not an 
impossibility. But time was lost through delays and half 
measures, and the opportunity was gone." 

About eleven a telegram came in from Verdy about the 
sortie this morning. It was directed against La Haye, and 
about five hundred red-breeches were taken prisoners. The 
Chief complained bitterly that they would go on taking 
prisoners, instead of shooting them down at once. 

" We had more than enough prisoners," he said, " already, 
and the Parisians were relieved of so many ' consumers,' 
whom we should have to feed and for whom we had no 

Wednesday, November 30. — In the morning T. was writ- 
ten to at length, and the reasons explained to him why we 
did not urge the demands which he and those who feel with 
him think absolutely essential in Bavaria. At the same 
time we communicated similar observations to S. During 
the latter half of the night and towards morning there was 
heavy firing from great guns beyond the thicket between 
this and Paris. Wollmann thinks he also heard the growl 
of the mitrailleuses and the rattle of musketry. Other 

people knew nothing of that The Chief appears to 

have seriously entertained the idea of asking the King to 

relieve him of his office, and according to he put the 

notion aside just before the decisive moment. 

In the afternoon Wollmann and I took a carriage excur- 
sion to Marly. The Chancellor, Abeken, and Hatzfeld also 
rode out in that direction a little after us, so that we met 

XIII.] Rothschild on Stocks. 4^ 

them up at the aqueduct. We saw there that heavy firing 
was going on north of Paris in the direction of Gonesse. 
White clouds of powder smoke rose into the sky, and 
flashes of fire from the guns hghtened through it. 

Prince Putbus and Odo Russell dined with us, and the 
Prince told us of the only time he had made an attempt to 
speculate in stocks on the strength of his knowledge of state 
secrets and of the bad luck he had had of it. " I had been 
charged," he said, " to talk over the Neuenburg (Neufchatel) 
business with Napoleon, in the spring of 1857, I beheve. I 
was to ascertain his attitude, and I knew that he would 
express himself favourably, and ■ that that would point to a 
war with Switzerland. On my way through Frankfort, 
where I then resided, I went accordingly to see Rothschild, 
whom I knew personally, and told him to sell out a certain 
stock which he held for me, as it would certainly not rise. 
' I should not advise you to do it,' said Rothschild, ' the stock 
has good prospects, and you will see tliat soon.' ' Well,' said 
I, ' if you knew what I know, you would think differently.' 
However that might be he said, he should not like to 
advise selling out. Of course I knew better, so I sold my 
stock and went off. In Paris, Napoleon was quite clear 
and very amiable. He could not accede to the King's wish 
to be allowed to march through Elsass and Lothringen, as 
that would have roused too much feeling in France. Other- 
wise he entirely approved of the enterprise, and it would 
give him nothing but gratification to see that Democrats' 
nest routed out. So far I had succeeded perfectly. But I 
had not calculated on our own policy in Berlin, which had 
meanwhile shifted in another direction — probably in view of 
Austria — so that the thing was given up ; there was no war, 
the stock kept steadily rising in the market, and I could 
only regret that it was no longer my property." 

44 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Then we spoke of the bombardment, of the Villa Cou- 
blay, and of what seemed the impossibility of getting the 
necessary ammunition forward quickly. The Chief said, 
" I have told the gentlemen twice over that we have lots of 
horses, which have every day to be exercised to keep them 
in health, and which might surely be employed for once in 
another way. ..." 

Somebody told us that the Villa Caffarelli had been pur- 
chased for our embassy in Rome, and Russell and Abeken 
said it was a very handsome one. The Chancellor said 
" Yes indeed, and we have some fine houses in other places, 
as, for instance, in Paris and London. But according to 
our continental ideas, the latter is too small. Bemstorff has 
so little space that when he receives or is at work, or has 
any grand affair on, he has to get his room cleared out for 
it. His Secretary of Legation has a better room in the house 
than Bemstorff himself" " The residence of the Embassy 
in Paris is a fine house very comfortably arranged. It is 
certainly the best house any of the Embassies have in Paris, 
; and it is worth so much that I once asked myself the ques- 
tion whether I ought not to dispose of it and give the Am- 
j bassador the interest of the capital to pay his rent with. 
,' The interest on 2\ million francs (;^8o,ooo) would be a 
f nice addition to his income, which is only 100,000 francs 
{£,6,000). But the more I turned it over, the less I liked 
it. , It is not seemly or worthy of a great power, that its 
ambassadors should have to rent a house which they might 
I get notice to quit, when all the state papers would have to be 
'j trundled through the streets in wheel-barrows during the 
I flitting. We must have houses of our own, and we ought to 
have them in every embassy town. The house in London 
is in a very peculiar position. It belongs to the King, and 
everything turns on the energy with which the ambassador 

XIII.] Ambassadors and Ministers. 45 

of the day looks after his own interests. It may happen — 
occasionally it does happen — that the King gets no rent at 
all. ..." The Chief praised Napier, who was formerly 
English ambassador in Berlin. " It was very easy to get 
on with him," he said ; " Buchanan, too, was a good, dry 
man, but trustworthy. Now we have Loftus. The position 
of an English ambassador in Berlin raises curious questions 
and involves special difficulties on account of the relationship 
between the two Royal Houses. It needs great tact and discre- 
tion (a quiet hint probably that Loftus does not answer these 
demands and requirements)." The Minister (perhaps to mark 
still more clearly his opinion of the character of the then 
representative of Her Britannic Majesty) then turned the 
conversation to Gramont, saying " He and OUivier always 
seem to me the real people. If such a thing had happened 
in my hands, after doing mischief like that, I should at 
least have enlisted or become a Franc-tireur on my own 
account, though I might have been hanged for it. That"big 
strong fellow Gramont is very well made for soldiering." 
Russell said he had once seen him in Rome in blue velve- 
teens at a hunting party. " Yes," said the .Chief, " he is 
a good sportsman. He has the right build of muscles 
for it. He would have been a capital head gamekeeper. 
But — Minister of Foreign Affairs — one can hardly con- 
ceive how Napoleon could have appointed him to such a 

In the evening L. told us that he had seen two heavy 
siege guns, with eight horses each harnessed to them, passing 
through Versailles to-day, probably for a battery at Sevres 
or Meudon. 

Bohlen told us at tea that Hatzfeld had yesterday been 
invited to the Royal table. Abeken sorrowfully remarked, 
" I have never had the good fortune to be commanded to 

46 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

dine and have never got any farther than tea.'' About ten 
o'clock the Minister came in. He spoke once more of the 
bombardment. "If what the General Staff asserted at Fer- 
riferes, that in three days they could reduce a couple efforts to 
ruins, and then push forward against the feeble enceinte, were 
correct, it would be a good thing for us. But now — it has been 
too long put off — only one month till Sedan, and already 
three months here, for to-morrow is the ist of December. 
The danger of an intervention of the neutral Powers grows 
greater daily. That would begin in a friendly sort of way 
and might end in all sorts of mischief . . . Had I known 
three months ago how things would be I should have been 
very anxious." Later in the evening, Abeken came back 
from the King, to whom he has for some time been reporting 
matters for the Chancellor. He had heard that there had 
been three sorties to-day, one directed against the Wiirtem- 
bergers, one against the Saxons, and the third against the 
Sixth Army Corps. The King thought that it might have 
been an attempt to break through our lines and escape. 
" Where could they go ?" said the Minister ; " they would put 
their heads in a sack. Such an attempt would be the best 
thing that could happen for us. Where they came on with 
eight battalions we should meet them with ten : and better 
troops too. Of course they may have received dark hints 
about the Army of the Loire, they don't know that it 
has already been defeated. By the way," turning to me, 
' you might put into a telegram what Putbus told me to-day, 
that some of the wounded to whom we gave permission to 
return to Paris, declined to do so." 

There was no more firing to-night 

I have already remarked somewhere that there are only a 
few reasonable men in France. To-day I have come across 
one. A leading article of the Lyons Decentralisation, headed 

XIII.] A Voice from the Provinces. 47 

' A Voice from the Provinces,' and signed L. Duvarennes, 
runs as follows : — 

" On the day after the Empire fell, the Paris Deputies 
thought themselves obliged to form a Government. Im- 
partial history will take note of this quite as much as of 
the attitude of a Chamber elected, at least in part, rather 
in the interests of a dynasty than of the nation. Out of 
their action issued the Provisional Government and the 
premature proclamation of the Republic, which has not 
yet received the necessary legal sanction of the representa- 
tives of the country. 

" Although we may not excuse, we can readily understand 
the excitement of those first days ; and how the French 
people, unaccustomed to administer its own affairs, sur- 
prised by what then revealed itself to it as a sort of 
justice asserting its indefeasible rights and appearing to be 
a success — we can understand how arbitrary action seemed 
in many parts of the country to assume the shape of freedom. 

" But we have several times already pointed out to whom, 
in our opinion, we owe this false idea of the situation, and 
as one naturally suspects the man who is to profit by a 
crime, of being its real author, the adherents of the de- 
throned government have an interest so clear and unmis- 
takable in the maintenance of disturbance in France, that 
we are entitled distinctly to charge them with striving to 
secure it by every means in their power " (the writer is in 
error here). 

" What ought to be the attitude of the Government, if it 
really wishes to defend the country in its hour of danger? 
What has it done in that way ? It was bound first of all to 
make an appeal to the nation and by every possible means 
to bring itself into that harmony with its representatives 

48 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

which the situation required for the public well-being. It 
ought by its example to have inculcated the union of all 
Frenchmen. But it must be admitted that unity, which 
implies a disciplined obedience, was every«'here absent, 
and that we have too many actual governments to be able 
to tell which of them is the lawful government of the 

" Tours orders elections and Paris will not hear of them. 
Paris proceeds to elections which France, acting from 
Tours, has refused. Lyons is under one flag, France under 
another. Marseilles holds itself aloof. Blood flows in the 
streets of Perpignan, and Esquiros leaves his place in Ghent 
and is received ■ttdth shots from revolvers. Duportal stays 
at his post at Toulouse, preaching up a peasants' war, in 
defiance of the government at Tours. Is this unity ? Can 
one call it Government? In presence of such facts is it 
possible to question the necessity of a regularly established 
authority ? 

" There is another class of citizens resisting the elections 
— the people at present at the helm. Probably they are 
afraid that the country would send them back to their 
old occupations. Certainly the obstinacy with which they 
cling to their dictatorship justifies every kind of distrust. 
They see that the power they have laid hold of is slipping 
out of their hands, they struggle to confirm themselves in it, 
and people hereabouts are beginning to talk of a plebiscite, 
to establish a sort of bastard representation of the people 
for the duration of the war. We shall not exchange our 
liberties for such a mere phantasm of freedom ; we shall go 
on demanding a free, equal, and universal expression of the 
popular will. It is not the time to ask people to cast into 
the ballot-boxes a simple Yes or No for a particular set of 
candidates. After the Plebiscite, which has been hissed off 

XIII.] Free Elections. 


the stage, they ought to let the curtain stay down on the 
comedy, and we say distinctly, for the honour of the country, 
that a proposal for that sort of election can scarcely be 
seriously meant. But there is no reason why we should 
not immediately elect municipalitieSj restoring to the com- 
munes of our towns and villages their most sacred rights, 
of which they have been shamefully robbed by the preten- 
sions of the Parisians to be the mouthpiece of France. 
Let us name our municipalities, and elect our mayors. In 
one word, let us be free, and from these communes will 
issue a real representation of the country. 

" Under the reign of yesterday's Csesar, we had plenty 
of fine speeches stigmatising the official precautions taken 
about the freedom of elections. Was all this patriotism (of 
MM. Gambetta and Favre) nothing but a wretched farce ? 
We might have believed it sincere, if the Caesar of to-day had 
not been equally ready to give his own declaration of the 
popular will. We want free elections ; we want the Com- 
mune ; we want people really charged with the decision of 
our destinies ; we shudder to think of the hydra of anarchy, 
which is already rearing its hideous head. That is why Vife 
shall never cease to demand communal elections, and the 
creation of those e\tcttd.mX.o 3. Farlia77ient of national defence, 
if we are to defend ourselves any longer, and, at any rate, 
into a Parliament representing France." 

Thursday, December i. — This morning only a couple of 
shots were fired from the forts. I telegraphed that yesterday's 
sortie had led to a desperate struggle with the Wiirtemberg 
Division, the larger half of the 12th, and portions of the 
6th and 2nd Army Corps, and that the result had been that 
the enemy had been repulsed along the whole line. The 
wounded had declined to avail themselves of the permission 


so Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to return to Paris. Afterwards there was the usual study of 
the journals with pencil marking and extracts. 

At breakfast Abeken appeared with his hair cut. He 
asked Bismarck-Bohlen how he looked. The answer was, 
" Admirably, Privy Councillor, but the lock on the one side 
is longer than on the other." " No matter for that, I always 
wear it so. But have you really nothing else to say against 
it ?" " It is quite perfect. Privy Councillor." The old 
gentleman went away whistling, greatly pleased with himself, 
and Hatzfeld watched him as he went out with a wondering 

At dinner we had a First Lieutenant von Saldern who 
was present as Adjutant at the last engagements of the loth 
Army Corps with the Army of the Loire. According to him 
this Corps was for a long time surrounded by a superior 
body of French, who were trying to break through one 
wing of our troops towards Fontainebleau. They defended 
themselves for seven hours against the enemy's assaults 
with magnificent courage and firmness. The troops 
under Wedel, and above all those of the i6th Regiment, 
specially distinguished themselves. "We made over 1600 
prisoners, and the total loss of the French is estimated at 
from 4000 to 5000 men," said Saldern. " Yes," said the 
Chief, " but prisoners are now a serious trouble to us, an 
extra burden "... When Saldern told us, in the course of 
his narrative, that one of the French soldiers was shot only 
ten paces in front of our needle-guns, the Chief said, " But 
he was shot." Afterwards he gave Abeken his instructions 
for the report he was to make for him to the King, " and 
say to his Majesty," said he finally, " that if we permit a 
Frenchman to appear in London (in the Conference then 
being held for the revision of the peace of 1856), we are not 
bound to do so, as the Government has never been recognised 

XIII.] Bismarck atid the Hospitals. 5 1 

by the Powers, and cannot be long in existence. We may 
allow it, to gratify Russia, on this question only, but if any- 
thing else is brought forward, he must leave the room." 

The Chief then told us the following incident : " After 
being with Roon to-day, I took a walk which may have 
done some good. I went to see Marie Antoinette's rooms in 
the chateau, after which I thought to myself, You should take 
note how the wounded are getting on. I asked one of the 
sentinels, ' What do the people get to eat ?' ' Well,' he said, 
' not very much, a little soup, meant for broth, with some bits 
of bread and pickles of rice in it, not boiled very soft, and 
very little fat' 'And about the wine,' I said, 'and do you 
get beer ?' They got about half a glass of wine a day. 
I asked another, afterwards, who had got none at all. 
A third told me he had had some three days ago, but none 
since. I questioned about a dozen, including some Poles, who 
did not understand me, and could only express their deUght 
to have anybody asking for them, by smiling. Also the poor 
wounded soldiers did not get what they ought, and the 
rooms were cold, because they were not allowed to be 
heated for fear of spoiling the pictures on the walls. As if 
the hfe of a single soldier were not worth more than all 
the lumber of pictures in the chateau. Then the servants 
told me that the oil lamps were only allowed till eleven, and 
that after that the men had to lie in the dark till the morn- 
ing. I had previously talked with an officer severely wounded 
in the foot. He said he ought to be satisfied, though things 
might be managed better. People took pretty good care of 

him, but for the rest . A Bavarian companion of St. 

John plucked up heart and told me that beer and wine were 
given out, but probably half or more went a-missing some- 
how, as well as warm things and other gifts from friends at 
home. Then I went off to the head doctor. '.What about 

E 2 

52 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the provision for the sick,' I said ; ' do they get proper things 
to eat?' 'Here is the ofRcialhst of returns.' ' Don't show 
me that,' I said, ' people can't eat paper — do they get their 
wine ?' ' Half a Utre daily.' ' Pardon me, the people say 
that is not so. I have asked them, and it is hardly to be 
supposed they are lying when they say they have got none.' 
' Here, sir, is my proof that everything is done properly, and 
according to my orders. Come with me, and I shall ask 
them about it before you.' ' I must excuse myself,' I said, ' but 
they shall be asked by the auditor whether they, get what 
goes to the inspector for them.' ' That would be a great 
reflection on me,' said he. ' Yes,' said I, of course, 'but I 
shall take care that the matter is inquired into, and at once.' " * 
He went on to say, "Frauds happen mostly among two classes, 
the meal-worms, who have to do with the provisions, and 
the building people, especially the hydraulic engineers. 
Unfortunately, too, there are some arhong the doctors. Not 
long ago, perhaps a year and a half since, I remember that 
there was a great investigation into frauds in the supply of 
the soldiers, and to my astonishment I found that about 
thirty doctors were involved." Then he asked suddenly, 
" Does any of you know who is Niethammer ? He must 
come of a very learned family.'' Somebody thought he was 
a philologian, another said there was a friend of Hegel's 
of that name, Keudell remembered that there was a diplo- 
matist so-called, who had no good-will to us. The Chief 
said he must have been in relation with Harless, a Bavarian 
theologian, who was an enemy of ours. 

* We shall see afterwards that little more came of this suspicion, 
which appearances abundantly justified, than that some small defects 
were discovered in the provision for looking after the sick throughout. 
I have told the story as an evidence of the Minister's sense of justice 
and kindly, feeling for people. 

XIII.] The Convention and its Critics. 5 3 

In the evening Bunker's interpellation on the imprison- 
ment of Jacoby, as it appeared in the National Zeitting, 
was prepared for the King's reading. 

The Chancellor came in later, after half-past ten, when 
we were at tea. After a while, he said, " The papers are 
not pleased with the Bavarian Convention ; I expected as 
much. They are out of humour because certain officials, 
who will have to conduct themselves entirely according to 
our laws, are to be called Bavarian. It is the same thing, 
essentially, with the military people. The beer tax is not 
to their mind, as if we had not had the same thing for years 
ill the Customs Union. They would cavil in this way over 
every detail in the treaty, though everything essential has 
been obtained and properly secured. They are behaving as if 
we had been at war previously with Bavaria, as we were with 
the Saxons in 1866, instead of the Bavarians being our allies, 
and fighting at our side. Rather than see any good in the 
Convention, they would prefer to wait till they could have 
their unity in a form agreeable to themselves. They would 
have to wait a long while. Their course leads to nothing 
but distraction, while the matter must be settled at once. 
If we put off. Time, the old enemy, will come in, and sow tares 
among our wheat. The Convention secures us a great deal, 
and those who want everything will make it possible that 
we may get nothing whatever. They are not content with 
what is in their hand — they want more uniformity — if they 
would only think of five years back, and what they would 
then have been satisfied with. ... A Constituent Assembly ! 
But the Kmg of Bavaria might decline to allow one to be 
elected. The Bavarian people would never force his hand, 
and neither should we. Yes, criticism is easy when people 
don't in the least realise the real circumstances." 

He then turned to a different subject : " I have seen the 

54 Bismarck in the Franco- Germa7t War. [Chap. 

account," he said, "of the surprise of the Unna Battalion. 
Inhabitants of Chatillon took part in it, and others un- 
doubtedly added to the difficulties of our troops. If they 
had only burnt down the place in their first rage ! After- 
wards, in cold blood, it is not so easy to do.'' 

A little after, he took up some gold pieces, and played 
with them in his hands for awhile. "It is startling," he 
said, "how many well-dressed people go about begging 
here. It was the same in Rheims, only it is much worse 
here. How seldom one sees gold pieces now of Louis 
Philippe's, or Charles the Tenth's ! I remember when I 
was young, in my twenties, one still saw pieces of Louis the 
Sixteenth and Eighteenth, the thick ones. Even the name, 
Louis d'or, has almost gone out, though with us it is still the 
correct thing to talk of Friedrichs d'or." He balanced a 
gold Napoleon on the tip of his middle finger, as if he were 
weighing it, and went on : "A hundred million double 
Napoleons would be about the amount of the war indemnity 
so far, in gold — it will come to more after a bit — 4000 
million francs. Forty thousand gold thalers make a hundred- 
weight, thirty hundredweights are the load for a good two- 
horse cart — -I know that I once had to take 14,000 gold 
thalers home, and how heavy they were ! That would take 
about eight hundred carts." " We should get those faster 
than the carts for the ammunition for the bombardment," 
said somebody, whose patience, like that of most of us, was 
about worn out over the putting off of the bombardment. 
" Yes," said the Chief, " but Roon told us a few days ago, 
that he has several hundred lorries at Nanteuil, meant for 
the transport of the ammunition. We might use four 
horses for awhile, for carriages which have now six, and 
spare the extra two for the transport of ammunition. We 
have already 318 cannon, but we want forty more, and he 

^IIIJ The Condition of Paris. 55 

might get them also, said Roon. But others won't hear of 
it." Afterwards, Hatzfeld said : " They have been refusing 
to hear of it for six or seven weeks now. Bronsard and 
Verdy said, so long ago as at Ferriferes, that we could lay 
Forts Issy and Vanvres in ruins in six-and-thirty hours, and 
then advance on Paris itself. Yet, after all that, nothing is 
done." I asked what Moltke thought about the matter. 
"Oh, he doeS' not trouble himself," said Hatzfeld; but 
Bucher said, " Moltke wants the bombardment." 

Before going to bed, I cast my eye over our Moniteur, 
with a whole column full of the names of French officers 
who had been taken prisoners, broken their parole, and got 
off" from the places where they had been interned. There 
were captains and lieutenants, infantry and cavalry, northern 
Frenchmen and southern Frenchmen. Two had got away 
from Dresden, and no fewer than ten from Hirschberg. If 
we can trust the reports in the English and Belgian news- 
papers, there is little enough already in Paris, of what holds 
body and soul together ; but things are still bearable, at 
all events, for well-to-do people. They have plenty of 
bread, dried vegetables and preserved meats. There is 
very little fresh beef, and it is very dear. Horse and 
donkey-flesh, " both better than they are called," says a 
letter, have to serve for it with most of the Parisians. The 
rat is beginning to be much in request. Dogs and cats are 
articles of luxury, and can no longer put out their noses 
with impunity on the Boulevards at night. 

The stock of oil is about done, there is no more wood for 
firing, and the supplies of coal are running low. About the 
middle of November a pound of butter cost twenty-five to 
twenty- six francs, a goose thirty-five, a pound of horse-flesh 
three to four francs, and fresh vegetables and milk were no 
longer within the reach of people of moderate means. 

S6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Friday, December 2. — In the morning I again explained 
the Chiefs attitude about the convention with Bavaria in 
letters and an article. At breakfast we were told that 
another sortie was going on against the Wurtemberg troops 
and the Saxons, and that this time the French had de- 
■weloped great masses of infantry. We had several degrees 
of cold, a very serious affair for the wounded on the battle- 
field. In the afternoon 1*116 long article in the Times on 
Gortchakoffs answer to Granville's despatch was translated 
for the King. 

Alten, Lehndorff, and an officer in dragoon uniform were 
the Chiefs guests at dinner. The officer was a Herr von 
Thadden, a son of Thadden-Treglaff. The Chief said 
that after coming back from a carriage round he had just 
been looking to the better quartering of our soldiers on 
guard. " Up to this time the fellows have been billeted," 
he said, "in Madame Jesse's coach-yard, where they can get 
no fire. I could not allow that any longer, and ordered the 
gardener to clear out the half of the hothouse for them. 
' But madame's plants will be frozen,' said the gardener's 
wife. ' It is a pity,' I said, ' but it is better than that the 
soldiers should be.' " He then spoke of the danger that 
the Reichstag might disallow, or at least modify, the con- 
vention with Bavaria. " I am most anxious about it," said 
he. " These people have no idea of the real situation. We 
are standing on the point of a lightning conductor ; if we lose 
our balance, after I have had the greatest difficulty in getting 
it, we tumble to the bottom. They want more than what 
was got without using any pressure, and what they would 
have been delighted with, or with the half of it, in 1866. 
They want amendments, they want to put in more unity and 
uniformity. If they alter a single comma, we shall have the 
negotiations all over again. Where are they to be held ? 

XIIL] Two Love Gifts. 57 

Here in Versailles? And if we are not finished by the ist 
of January, which would be delightful to many in Munich, 
the unity of Germany is done for, perhaps for years, and the 
Austrians can do what they like in Munich.'' 

The first dish after the soup was mushrooms, served 
up in two different ways. " You must eat these with much 
feeling," he said ; " they are a love-gift from the soldiers, 
who found them in some quarry or cellar, where a crop of 
mushrooms is being raised. The cook has fitted with them 
a capital sauce, first-rate ! Even a better love-gift, certainly 
a more unusual one, was sent me by the soldiers : what regi- 
ment was it that sent me the roses?" "The 47th," said 
Bohlen. " Yes, that bouquet of roses was gathered under 
fire, probably in a garden of the outpost circle. By the 
bye, that reminds me that in the hospital I came across a 
Polish soldier, who could read no German. A Polish 
prayerbook would be a comfort to him ; has anybody such 
a thing ? " Alten said no, but he could supply him with 
some Polish newspapers. The Chief replied : " No good ; 
he would not understand them, and they would put him up 
against us. Perhaps Radziwill has something. A Polish 
novel, ' Pan Twardowski,' or something of that sort, might 
do." Alten said he would make a note of it. 

The conversation then turned on to-day's sortie, as twice 
over we heard the thunder from the Seine. Somebody 
said, " The poor Wiirtemberg fellows have no doubt lost a 
great many men this time, too." " Most likely the poor 
Saxons also," said the Chief. Somebody mentioned Ducrot, 
who was probably in command of the sortie, and said he 
ought to take care not to get taken prisoner. " Certainly,'' 
said the Minister, " he should either get killed in battle, or 
if he has no mind for that he should take himself off in 
a balloon." . . . The Chief looked round : " Where is 

58 Bismarck iji the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Xrausnik? He has surely not forgotten to bring the 
apple-poultice for the soldier which I promised him. He 
was wounded only in the arm, but he looked a miserable 
object, and had fever — suppuration, I am afraid." 

We began to talk of speculation in stocks, and the 
Minister again repeated that very little could be made out of 
it, through the possession of which must always give one a 
very restricted forecast of political events. Such things only 
produce their effects on the Exchange a little later, and 
nobody can guess on what day the effect will begin. " Yes," 
he went on, " and if one could procure a fall of stocks by 
intrigues of that sort, it would be a disgraceful affair. The 
French Minister G. did so, as R. recently told us. He 
doubled his capital by it — it might almost be said, that the 
war was promoted with that object. M., too, as they say 
tried the same business — not on his own account, but with 
the money of his mistress — and when it was likely to turn 
out well, he died under suspicious circumstances. A man 
who wants to make use of his position will arrange to have 
the Bourse telegrams for all the Exchanges sent on along 
with the political despatches to suitable officials at the 
various legations. Political telegrams have precedence, and 
twenty or thirty minutes might be gained that way. Then 
you must have a Jew who can run fast, to take proper 
advantage of the extra time. There are people, doubtless, 
who have done it. In this way one might earn his 500 or 
5000 thalers daily, which in a couple of years would come 
to a good deal of money. My son shall never say that his 
father made him a rich man in any such fashion. He may 
get rich some other way, if he wants. I was better off 
before I was Chancellor of the Confederation than I am 
now. I was ruined by the Dotation. Since that time I have 
been a man in difficulties, I considered myself before as a 

XIII.] The Chancellor at Home. 59 

simple country squire, but after I came to belong in a sort 
of way to the peerage, the demands on me have increased, 
and my estates don't bring it in. The time when I always 
had something to the good was when I was ambassador at 
Frankfort, and in St. Petersburg, when I needed to keep no 
company and kept none.'' Then he told us of his ground-fir 
and wood pulp concerns in Varzin, out of which he seemed 
to expect to make a good deal. His tenant paid him interest 
on the capital which he had sunk in the mills and other 
plant. " How much might it be ?" said somebody. " Forty 
to fifty thousand thalers. He pays me 2000 thalers," he 
added, " for a water-power, which was of no use before ; 
he buys my pine logs which I could hardly sell pre- 
viously, and after thirty years he is to hand me back the 
whole of the mills in the condition in which he received 
them. At present there is only one, but there will soon be 
another where the water falls with greater force, and after- 
wards a third." " And what may your tenant make of it ? " 
" Pasteboard for book-covers, paper for packing and for 
making boxes and so on, especially for Berlin, and cakes of 
ground-pine flour which are 'sent to England, dissolved there, 
mixed up with other stuffs, and turned into paper.'' All this 
he explained to us in detail, as knowing all about the 

Saturday, December 3. — During the night there was heavy 
firing again in the north, but, in the course of the day, only 
single shots came from the big guns. Yesterday there must 
have been severe fighting on the east and north-east of Paris, 
with heavy losses on our side too. Apparently the French 
had established their footing at night in the villages of Brie, 
Villiers, and Champigny, which were included within our 
lines. I forward by telegraph to Germany a communication 
from the General Staff about these events, which leaves the 

6o Bismarck in the Franco-German War, [Chap. 

continued occupation of these positions by our troops 
ambiguous, speaks only of the repulse of the French, who 
burst out in heavy masses, by the Saxons (who seem to have 
lost a whole battalion), the Wiirtemberg troops, and the 2nd 
Army Corps, and goes on to describe a victory at Longwy 
and at Artenay. At half-past one the Chief goes to visit 
the Grand Duke of Baden, whose wife's birthday it is, and 
afterwards dines with the King. We have Count Holnstein 
with us, who went off last Saturday night to see the King 
of Badon at Hohenschwangau and got back here at mid- 
day to-day. " A journey that can never be forgotten," said 
Bohlen to him. I asked Bucher about it. " The Count 
was absent while the Emperor question was going on, and 
he brings back good news," he answered. We v/ere struck 
to-day by the French firing four cannon-shots some six 
times in the course of the day, two at intervals of about four 
seconds, and two almost simultaneously. 

The Gaulois, which has emigrated from Paris to Brussels, 
seems- an accurate sort of print. Its editors, one of whom 
was that amiable person, Angelo de Miranda, go on as 
if they were still writing in Paris, shut off from all the world. 
For example, these children of the father of lies tell us, that 
about the middle of October Prussia paid 450,000 thalers 
(^^67,500), through a London house, to certain people 
living in France, on which account these people are sup- 
posed to be Prussian spies. They say that Moltke died and 
was buried three weeks since, but that any German soldier 
who mentions the fact is at once shot. To get out of the 
way of the serious business which there is likely soon to be 
about Paris, King William has, it seems, taken himself off 
to Germany, probably to open the Reichstag. Lastly, 
thirty-six heads of families at Mutzig, near Strassburg, whose 
sons are with the French army, have been put to death, 

XIII.] Neutrality of Luxemburg. 6l 

their ears and noses cut off, and their corpses fastened on 
the church walls, where they have been for a month past. 
In other respects the chief editor, Tarbe, is not at all bad. 
He attacks Gambetta, whom he calls a tyrant, and whom 
he charges particularly with acting in the interest only 
of the republic, not of France, the republic meaning 
nothing but his own dictatorship and absolute sovereignty ; 
and with sacrificing his country to secure his own power. 
In Paris Tarbd appears not to have been in a position 
to express these views with sufficient distinctness. So he 
left Paris, and tried to slip through the German line, 
with three of his sub-editors. He succeeded, but he could 
not start his paper again in any of the French provincial 
towns, as he might not have been allowed to attack Gam- 
betta even there. So he is going to fight and lie from 
Belgium. Notes about this mendacious print were com- 
municated to the Moniteur and the German papers. 

Afterwards I wrote an article on the neutrality of Luxem- 
burg, and the perfidious way in which the people there have 
taken advantage of it to assist the French in their struggle 
with us in various particulars. The line of argument was as 
follows. At the beginning of the war we declared that we 
should on our part respect the neutrality of Luxemburg. 
The reciprocal neutrality of the grand duchy and people of 
Luxemburg was presumed without any express declaration. 
This presumption has turned out unfortunately. , While 
we kept our promise honestly, inconvenient as it was 
interfering especially with the forwarding of our wounded, 
neutrality was frequently violated by Luxemburg in the 
most flagrant fashion. We had previously had reason to 
complain that the fortress of Thionville had been revic- 
tuaUed by supplies brought in during the night through 
the connivance of the officers of the grand-ducal railway 

62 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and of the police authorities. After the capitulation of 
Metz numerous French soldiers passed through the Grand 
Duchy on their way back to France and the French army 
operating against us in the north. The French consul 
established an official " bureau " at the railway station at 
Luxemburg, where 5uch soldiers were supplied with money 
and legitimation papers for their journey. The grand- 
ducal government allowed all this to go on without making 
an attempt to interfere with this assistance to the enemies 
of Germany. It can have no reason to complain if we pay 
no further reSpect to its neutrality in our military operations, 
and if we require it to make up the loss which we have 
had to undergo through its permitting these violations of 

Sunday, December 4. — Lovely weather. Scarcely a shot 
fired in the north. I am telegraphing that the French have 
made no new attempts to break through our lines either 
yesterday or to-day, and that Prince Frederick Charles has 
been again pressing forward and capturing some more guns. 

The Bavarian ex-minister Von Roggenbach, first lieu- 
tenant Von Sarwadsky, and the Bavarian companion of St. 
John, von Niethammer, a man with an uncommonly noble 
countenance, whose acquaintance the Prince made recently 
in the hospital, were at dinner. The Minister first men- 
tioned that he had again been visiting the wounded in the 
chiteau. Then he said, " Frankfort and Petersburg ex- 
cepted, I have never been as long in any strange place as 
I have been here. We shall certainly spend our Christmas 
here, and a little ago we did not expect that. At Easter 
we may be still in Versailles seeing the trees once more 
growing green, and keeping our ears always open for news 
of the army of the Loire. If we had known, we should have 
had asparagus beds in the garden out there." Afterwards, 

XIII.] The Surrender and the End. 63 

turning to Roggenbach, he said, " I have seen the extracts 
from the newspapers. How they are wrestling over the 
Convention ! They don't leave one good hair on its head 
The National Zeitung, the Kolnische, the Weser Zeitung, which 
is as it always is, the most rational of all. Well, criticism rnust 
please itself But I am responsible if nothing comes of it 
all, and the critics are not. It is all one what they say 
against me if the thing can only be put through in the 
Reichstag; history may say, if it pleases, that that poor 
creature of a Chancellor ought to have made something 
much better out of it, but then I was responsible. If the 
Reichstag amends it, every South German country diet may 
do the same, and a peace such as we want, and need, is 
done for. Elsass cannot be claimed from France, unless a 
political personality has been meanwhile created, and there 
is a Germany to recover it for." 

We spoke of the peace negotiations which would likely 
spring out of the soon-expected capitulation of Paris, and of 
the difficulties that might ensue. " Favre and Trochu,'' the 
Chief began, " may say, ' We are no longer the Government ; 
we once were, but we have resigned and are merely private 
individuals — ^I am only Citizen Trochu.' I should soon 
bring the Parisians to their senses. I should say, You two 
millions of people are answerable to me with your lives. 
I shall leave you to starve for four-and-twenty hours till we 
get what we want out of you. And twenty-four hours on 
the top of that, for what happens is all one to me. The 
delay will do me no harm, but ... I could manage well 
enough with myself, but there is something standing behind 
me, behind my back, or rather lying on my chest, so that I 
cannot breathe. . . . Ah ! if I were squire, I could answer 
for my own hardheartedness ; but I am not squire. Within 
the last few days something very foolish has come up 

64 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

through sentimental feeling for the people inside. Great 
magazines of provisions are to be prepared for the Parisians. 
They are to be brought over from London and Belgium, 
the magazines are to be between our lines, and our soldiers 
are Only to look on, and not to help themselves out of 
them when they are in want. It is to save the Parisians 
from starving after the capitulation." " We have certainly 
enough in the house here, but the troops outside are 
often hard put to it, and they are suffering that the 
Parisians may be able, when they know they are looked 
after outside, to put the capitulation off till they have really 
swallowed their last loaf and slaughtered their last horse. I 
am not asked about it, else I should be hanged rather than 
give my consent." " But I have myself to blame ; I was im- 
prudent enough to invite people's attention, only the diplo- 
matic world's to be sure, to famine as inevitable." (I had 
also had to do the same in the newspapers.) 

Swiss cheese was handed round, and somebody asked 
whether cheese went well with wine. " Some kinds of 
cheese with some sorts of wine," said the Minister ; " high- 
flavoured cheeses like Gorgonzola or Dutch, don't suit. 
Others suit well. When people used to drink hard in 
Pomerania, some two centuries or so since, the Rammin 
folk were the hardest drinkers. One Stettin man had once 
got wine which did not taste right to him, and he wrote to 
the wine merchant about it. The answer he got back was, 
' Eet Kees to Wien, Herr von Rammin, denn smekt de Wien 
wie in Stettin ook to Rammin.' (' Take cheese to your wine, 
like a Rammin man, for the wine tastes the same in Stettin 
as in Rammin.')" 

L. told us when he came in, about eight o'clock, to fetch 
his notes, that the Ambassador von der Goltz had told 
him in 1866 that he had despatched a courier to the 

XIII.] Bavaria and the Convention. 65 

German head-quarters to say that the Emperor Napoleon 
would offer no objection to the annexation of Saxony, but 
the messenger arrived a couple of hours too late (the facts, as 
is well known, were different). I then told L. to explain 
at length, in an article in the great newspaper for which he 
corresponds, what is the feeling here about the convention 
with Bavaria. He could say something like this : In the 
first place, we cannot dictate to Bavaria the conditions of her 
entrance into the Confederation with the rest of Germany, 
as we did to Saxony in 1866. She is our victorious ally, 
not our defeated enemy. We could not have put pressure 
on her in time of peace, much less now, after she has been 
fighting by our side, with whatever motives — and probably a 
wish to maintain her own independence, to a certain reason- 
able extent, may have been one of them. And finally, 
if the Reichstag alters anything in the convention the 
diets of Southern Germany may correct anything they 
think convenient, and the negotiations will be endless ; 
while it is of the utmost moment that the convention should 
soon be complete, in view of the annexation of Elsass- 

After ten o'clock, some six shots came from one of the 
forts, one sharp after the' other, and some more shortly after. 
The Wiirtemberg troops fought, it appears, wonderfully well 
insDucrot's first sortie towards the Marne, and the Saxons 
also, who lost several hundreds in prisoners. We have taken 
eight hundred French prisoners. 

I went down to tea after half-past ten. Bismarck-Bohlen 
and Hatzfeld were sitting there with three sharp-shooters, 
who were waiting for the orders of the Chief. It was half 
an hour later before he came back from the Grand Duke of 
Baden's. He wrote rapidly a letter in pencil to the general 

VOL. II. ^ 

66 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

commanding the Fourth Army Corps, which one of the sharp- 
shooters took away with him. Then he told us how the 
Grand Duke had just had the news from the King that 
our people were now in possession of the Forest of Orleans 
and ■ close up to the town. After the others and the 
sharp-shooters had left, I asked, " Your Excellency, should 
I telegraph the good news straight off to London ?" " Yes," 
he said, smiling, "if the general staff will allow us to say 
anything about the movements of the army." He then read 
Renter's telegram with accounts from the French side. He 
stopped at the word " tarde," which was probably a mistake 
in writing out, saying, "A Saxon must have telegraphed 
this." Then, with a look at me, " I beg your pardon." 

The gentlemen came in with Abeken who had had the 
honour to drink tea with the King We spoke of Gortcha- 
koff's note, of England, of Count Holnstein's journey, 
and its happy results, of his audience by King William. 
Bohlen said, " They are quite beside themselves in Ger- 
many. It will be a splendid spectacle to-morrow with 
their Emperor. They will illuminate ; they are already 
making preparations for a feast of dazzling magnificence.". 
"Well," said the Chief, "it may have, I fancy, a good 
effect on the Reichstag. It was very good of Roggenbach 
to be ready to go off to Berlin at once" (to preach 
reason to those of the members of parliament who were 

Monday, December 5. — Charming weather, but this morn- 
ing very cold. While he was still in bed the Chief had a 
written report from Bonsart, that the Third and Ninth Army 
Corps under Prince Frederick Charles had had a great 
victory, that the railway station and one of the suburbs of 
Orleans had been taken by Mannstein ; that the Grand Duke 
of Mecklenburg had appeared in the west of the town j that 

Xlli.] Victories at Orleans aud Amiens. 67 

over thirty cannon and several thousand prisoners had 
fallen into our hands. All sorts of war material, including 
nine cannon, had also been captured by our troops at 
Amiens, after a victory there. Finally, here, before Paris, 
the French had been driven back behind the Marne. I 
telegraph this in our usual fashion, and this time the 
Minister has no fault to find with my long despatch. 

Soon after he called me back, and I wrote out a polemical 
article on the Bavarian affair, in which the ideas I had put 
forward hitherto were somewhat differently given, and which 
I dropped into the cigar-box which hangs below on the 
wall of my bureau, for letters requiring rapid dispatch. It 
was something in this style : " The rumour that the Chan- 
cellor of the Confederation accepted the convention with 
Bavaria as it now stands, only because he believed ■ that 
the Reichstag would throw it out, or, at all events modify it, 
is altogether groundless. In the course of December these 
conventions will have to be finally accepted and concluded in 
every particular, if they are to come into force, as they are 
meant to do, on the first day of the new year. Otherwise, 
everything remains in uncertainty. If the representatives of 
North Germany alter the Convention, the South German 
diets become entitled to alter it back again, aiid nobody can 
say whether they may not decide to exercise their right. In 
that case the nation would have a long while tQ wait for 
political unity." (" Ten years, perhaps," the Chief had said, 
" and interim aliquid fit — something happens in the mean- 
time.") " Nor can the peace that is coming be what we want 
without them. The conventions may be defective, but all 
that can be put right afterwards by the Reichstag acting 
along with the Federal Council, and through the pressure of 
public opinion, and of national feeling among the people. 
Hurry had nothing to do with it. If this pressure fails, the 

F 2 

68 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

present situation of German affairs is still manifestly according 
to the wish of the majority of the nation. The Nationalists 
in Versailles are very much concerned and disturbed about the 
tone Berlin takes in the matter ; but there is some comfort 
in noticing that the Volkszeitung has been fighting against 
the convention with Bavaria ; for people are accustoming 
themselves to recognise by degrees that everybody with 
political insight regularly goes against everything which that 
paper praises or recommends, and inclines to the side )vhich 
it criticises and warns them away from." 

About three I went for a walk with Bucher to the wooded 
hills south of the city, from which we can see its whole 
extent. Shortly before dinner I telegraphed, according to 
news which the Chief had just received, that Orleans was 
last night taken possession of by the Germans. About the 
same time L. came to let me know that Bamberg had told 
him that he, L., was to resign the editorship oi 'Cos. Moniteur 
officiel, by order of the Federal Chancellor, to him, Bamberg. 
.... I am glad that he is still permitted to get information 
for his correspondence from us. He has several times done 
us really good service in that way. 

The Royal messenger Bamberger sat at dinner on the 
Chiefs left. He was thinking of starting for Berlin to' per- 
suade people to accept the conventions with South Germany 
without alteration. Besides him, the Minister had as his 
guests a dragoon officer with a yellow collar. Colonel von 
Schenk, and a lieutenant or captain of the light-blue hussars. 
The latter, a grey-headed gentleman with moustaches, was 
the von Rochow who killed Hinkeldey in a duel. The 
conversation first turned on doctors, and their knowledge 
of things, and the Chief thought very little of them. Then 
we talked of the conventions, and somebody said that the 
attitude of the princes in the matter had been right. " Yes, 

XIII.] Ministers and Members of Parliament. 69 

but the attitude of the Reichstag," interrupted the Chan- 
cellor, " I can think of nothing but, gentlemen, gentlemen, 
you are spoiling the whole of our fowling. You remember 
Kaiser Heinrich. But it turned out well there in the end. 
Well, if this fails, man after man of them might offer himself 
to be shot dead on the altar of his country, but it would 
be of no use to anybody." Then he thought a moment, 
and went on with a half smile, " People should make 
members of Parliament as responsible as ministers, no more 
and no less, on a footing of perfect equality. There might 
be a law that they could be put on trial for high treason, for 
obstructing important State agreements, or, as they have done 
in Paris here, for approving a war made without just cause, 
and in lightness of heart (they were all for it, except Jules 
Favre). Some day, perhaps, I shall introduce such a law." 

We then spoke of the last fights before Paris, and some- 
body said that the Pomeranians had been under fire. 
" Probably also my good fellows from Varzin," said the 
Chief; " forty and nine — seven times seven. How are they 
getting on, I wonder ? " Rochow then told some stories 
about several peculiar habits of General von Alvensleben, in 
whose quarters he had passed the night. 

We spoke again of the delay in the capitulation of Paris, 
which was to have taken place in four weeks at latest. 
" Yes," sighed the Chancellor, " if it would only come to 
that, all my troubles would be over." Bamberger suggested, 
"I suppose we shall not allow them merely to capitulate; 
we shall require them to make peace with us ? " " Quite 
so," said the Chief, " that is my view, too, and we must 
force them to it by starving them. But there are people 
here who want to be praised for their humanity above 
everything, and who spoil everything with it ; besides which, 
our first duty of humanity is to think of our own soldiers, 

70 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and see that they don't suffer needless misery^ and are not 

killed for nothing." " 's view of the bombardment is just 

the same. Then they spare the potato-grubbers, who ought 
to be shot, of course, if we want to force the city to submit 
by starvation." 

After eight o'clock I was repeatedly called for by the 
Chief, and wrote two longish articles. The second was 
founded on a note in the Indkpeniiance Beige, and pointed 
out that there was nothing in the circumstance that the 
House of Orleans was connected with that of Habsburg 
Lothringen through the Due d'Alengon, to make us Germans 
inclined to give it any preference, or to regard it at all more 
favourably. It came pretty much to tRis. 

" It will be remembered that when the princes of the 
House of Orleans offered their services for the war against 
us, they were refused by Trochu. The Indtpendance Beige 
now tells us that the Due d'Alengon, the second son of 
the Due de Nemours, who was not at the time able to 
follow in his father's and uncle's footsteps, on account of 
ill-health, is now ready to try his luck in the same direction, 
and it significantly adds : — " It will be remembered that 
the Due d'Alen§on is married to a sister of the Empress of 
Austria." We understand the hint, and believe that we 
meet it in the spirit of the true policy of Germany as follows. 

" The Orleans princes are well known to have been quite 
as hostile to us as the other dynasties which have angled for 
the French crown. Their press teems with lies and insults 
against us. We have not forgotten the pretty song to the 
glory of the murderous Francs-tireurs, which the Due de 
Joinville started after the battle of Worth. In France the 
Government which is most agreeable to us is that which 
has least power to hurt us, having too much to do at home 
in strengthening itself against its rivals. For us, except in 

XIII.] The Orleans Princes and Austria. 71 

that way, Orleanists, Legitimists, Imperialists, and Repub- 
licans, are equally worth and equally little worth. As for the 
hint of the Austrian relationship, we can see what that would 
come to. . . . There is one party in the Austro-Hungarian 
Empire which sides with, and another which sides against 
Germany. The latter would like to see the Empire repeat the 
old policy of Kaunitz in the Seven Years' War, of a perpetual 
conspiracy with France against German, and above all, 
against Prussian interests. It is the policy which has recently 
been associated with the name of Metternich, which was pur- 
sued from 18 1 5 to 1866, and which people have since been 
attempting to carry out more or less energetically. This is 
the party of which Metternich junior, the latter-day resur- 
rection of old Prince Metternich, has for years been the 
most emphatic spokesman. It wants a Franco-Austrian 
alliance against Germany, and it was one of the chief insti- 
gators of the war now raging. The House of Orleans may 
fancy that its connection with Austria improves its prospects, 
but it is the very reason why it has nothing to hope for, at 
all events from us.'' 

While we were drinking tea, and after Bucher and 
Keudell and I had been sitting awhile together, the Chief 
came in, and Hatzfeld afterwards. The latter had been 
with the King, and told us that he had learned that in 
the battle near Orleans, and during the pursuit which 
followed. Prince Frederick Charles had captured seventy- 
seven guns, several mitrailleuses, and four gun-boats. Some 
10,000 unwounded prisoners fell into our hands. The 
enemy's troops dispersed in different directions. All the 
important points were taken by storm, and we suffered 
considerable losses in consequence, the 36th, for instance, 
having lost a great many, it is believed as many as 600 men. 
In the last battle before Paris, also, we lost heavily, in con- 

72 Bismarck in the Franco-German War, [Chap. 

sequence of the overwhelming numbers of the enemy. You 
may imagine, Hatzfeld went on to say, that we did not 
have a very lively time at the King's. " The Russian state 
councillor, Grimm, told us all sorts of feebly interesting 
things about Louis XIV. and Louis XV. The Weimar man 
proposed a riddle to which nobody could give the correct 
answer." " Radowitz was a great man in finding out these 
things," said the Minister. " He used to give his solution 
of every possible thing with the utmost confidence, and that 
was the way in which he won most of his successes at Court. 
He could tell us exactly what la Maintenon or la Pompadour 
wore on such and such a day. She had this or that round 
her throat, her head-dress was ornamented with humming- 
birds, or bunches of grapes ; she wore a pearl-green or a 
parrot-green dress with such or such flounces and laces — 
all quite as well as if he had been there himself The ladies 
were all ears for this toilette lecture, which came trippingly 
from his tongue." 

The conversation turned afterwards on Alexander von 
Humboldt, who, if we can trust to what was said about him, 
must have been a courtier not at all of the entertaining 
kind. " In the time of his late Majesty," the Chief told 
us, "I was the only victim when Humboldt used of an 
evening to entertain the company in his own fashion. He 
used to read aloud to us — often for an hour at a time — 
a biographical account of some French scholar or architect 
in whom nobody but himself took any interest. There he 
stood, holding his paper close up to the lamp. Occa- 
sionally he let his hands drop, to interpose some learned 
expansion of what he had been saying. Nobody listened to 
him, but he kept on without a pause. The Queen worked 
steadily at some tapestry work, and certainly did not hear a 
word of his discourse. The King looked over pictures — 

XIII.] Humboldt at Court. 73 

copper-plates and wood-cuts — making a good deal of rustling 
in turning them over, with the quiet purpose apparently of 
preventing himself having to listen to anything that was 
being said. The young folks kept at the side and in the 
background, talking quite unrestrainedly, tittering, and 
occasionally overpowering the voice of the lecturer, who 
went rippling on all the same for ever like the brook. 
Gerlach, who was usually present, sat on a little round stool, 
over the edge of which his portly person overflowed on all 
sides, and he slept and snored so loud that the King once 
wakened him up, saying, ' Gerlach, don't snore so any 
longer.' I was his only patient audience, for I kept quiet, 
as if I were listening to the discourse, while I was thinking 
of other things. At last, we had in the cold meat and the 
white wine." " It vexed the old gentlemen very much 
when he could not get speaking. I remember once that 
somebody present took up all the conversation, quite natu- 
rally, as he was telling us in a charming way about things 
that interested us all. Humboldt was beside himself. He 
moodily heaped on his plate — so high " (showing us with 
his hand) " pat^ de foie gras, fat eels, lobster claws, and 
other indigestibles — a regular mountain of them — it was 
marvellous what that old man could eat. When he was able 
for no more, he began to be restless again, and made one 
' more attempt to run away with the conversation. ' On the 
peak of Popocatepetl,' he began, but it was no use, the 
story-teller was not to be put down. ' On the summit of 
Popocatepetl, 14,000 yards above the level of the sea,' he 
repeated, in a loud, excited voice. It was still no use ; the 
story-teller went on just the same, and the company gave 
their attention to him alone. It was unheard of — an out- 
rage ! Humboldt sat down storming, and fell a-musing sadly 
on the ingratitude of mankind, even at Court." 

74 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" The Liberals made a great deal of him, and counted 
him one of themselves. But the breath of his nostrils 
was the favour of princes, and he never felt himself com- 
fortable except in the sunshine of royalty. That did not 
prevent him from gossiping about the Court afterwards 
with Vamhagen, and telling all sorts of evil stories about 
it. Vamhagen made books of them, which I bought like 
other people. They are frightfully dear when one thinks 
of the dozen lines in big type that sprawl over a page." 
Keudell said he supposed, however, that for history they 
were indispensable. " Yes," said the Chief, " in a certain 
sense they are. There are points on which they are not 
worth much, but as a whole they express the acrid tone of 
Berlin society at a time when there was no good in it. Every- 
body about that time used to talk with the same malicious 
impotence." " Without such books, it would be quite im- 
possible for one nowadays to have the least conception 
of the kind of world it was unless one had seen it. 
Plenty of apparent, but no real good-breeding. I can re- 
member, though I was then but a little fellow (it must have 
been in the year 1821 or 1822), the Ministers of the day 
were frightful creatures, much stared at, and full of a 
mysterious importance. There happened to be a great 
gathering at Schuckmann's, what was called at that time an 
' Assembly.' What a frightful creature of a minister that 
man was ! My mother went to it. I can remember her 
as if it were yesterday. She had long gloves on, up to here " 
(pointing up past his elbow), " a short-waisted gown, her 
curls done up in pads at both sides, and a big ostrich 
feather on her head." Whether or not he had meant to 
tell us some story, he broke off here, and went back to 
Humboldt. " Humboldt," he said, " had really much to 
tell one that was worth listening to, when one was alone 

XIIi.] Moltke and Trochu. 75 

with him — about the time of Frederick William III. — and 
especially about his own first residence in Paris. He had 
a kindness for me as I was always so respectful a listener, 
and I got a great many good anecdotes from him. It was 
just the same with old Metternich. I spent a couple of 
days with him once on the Johannisberg. Thun said to 
me, some time after, ' I don't know what glamour you have 
been casting over the old prince, who has been looking 
down into you as if you were a golden goblet, and who told 
me, that he had no insight at all, if you and I did not get 
on well together.' ' Well,' said I, ' I will tell you ; I listened 
peaceably to all his stories, only pushing t he clo ck several 
times till it rang again. That pleases these talkative old 
men.' " Hatzfeld remarked, that Moltke had written to 
Trochu, to tell him the real state of things at Orleans. " He 
gave him liberty to send out an officer to convince himself 
of the truth, offering him a safe-conduct to Orleans." The 
Chief said, " I know. I should have liked better that they 
had let the proposal originate with him. Our lines are at 
present thin in several places; and, besides, they have 
their carrier-pigeon post. When we invite them to come out 
and see for themselves, it looks as if we were in a great 
hurry for the capitulation." 

Tuesday, December 6. — Before breakfast, I telegraphed 
particulars of the battle at Orleans to Berlin and London. 
Afterwards I drew up articles for the Moniteur, and for 
several German papers, on the breach of their parole by 
several captive French officers, some of whom are again to 
be pursued with letters of caption. Even General Barral, 
now in command of the army of the Loire, made his escape 
in this disgraceful fashion. He gave a written promise on 
his word of honour, after the surrender of Strassburg, not 
once but twice over^ that he would not in this war 

76 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

bear arms again against the Prussians and their alHes, and 
that he would do nothing whatever to the injury of the 
German armies. He then went off to Colmar, and from 
thence to the Loire, when he re-entered the French service 
— an unprecedented infamy. The gentlemen of the Tours 
government made no objection to him. These gentlemen, 
whom the Belgian papers are never tired of praising up as 
honest folk, men of honour, and so forth, went even farther 
than that. They dispatched a certain M. Richard to the 
French officers now interned in Belgium, who gathered them 
together in the house of Taschard, the representative of 
MM. Gambetta and Favre in Brussels, and then urged and 
threatened them, to break the word of honour they had given 
the Belgian authoirities, to make their way back to France, 
and to take service there once more against the Germans. 
Even in Silesia such emissaries seem to have over-persuaded 
some officers of low character. In the history of warfare 
cases like these are certainly not numerous. But the affair 
has another aspect ; these disgraceful proceedings must 
give the German authorities great reason to question how 
far they can trust a government like that of the National 
Defence. When a government stoops to invite officers 
to break their word of honour ; when it employs and makes 
use of officers who have done so, on its own initiative, 
proving by so doing that it shares and excuses these low 
conceptions of the value of solemn promises, we must, as 
a matter of course, treat it as in the last degree untrust- 
worthy, so long as it goes on tempting its captive officers 
to break their parole, and employing and making use of 
them, after they have done so. 

Dr. Lauer and Odo Russell were at table. The conver- 
sation was of no special interest, and almost no politics 
were talked at all. But we had some delicious wines 

XIII.] Count Gramont. . yj 

from the Palatinate — Deideslieimer Hofstiick and Forster 
Kirchenstiick — the best blood of the grape, rich in every 
virtue, fragrant and fiery. "From fire man's spirit was 
created." Even Bucher, who usually drinks only red wine, 
did honour to this heavenly dew from the Haardt moun- 

In the evening, Consul Bamberg, the new editor of our 
Versailles journal — an elderly man, in a sort of sea-captain's 
uniform, flying the ribands of a couple of orders — paid us 
what is after this to be a daily visit. The recent inspection 
of the hospital in the chateau by the Chief has given rise to 
an inquiry, and if I understand rightly, he has had a letter 
from the war ministry informing him that everything is in 
perfect order, that the sick have been getting what was 
proper for them, and that the sentinel who told him about 
the alleged neglect has been suitably punished.* 

Afterwards I wrote an article in which I expressed a 
polite astonishment at the brazen-facedness with which Gra- 
mont reminded the world of his existence in the Brussels 
Gaulois. It is through his unheard-of narrowness of vision, 
and his almost unprecedented incapacity for the office he 
then filled, that France has been brought to her present 
misery, and he ought, like his colleague OUivier, to have 
hidden himself away in silence, and been only too thankful 
that people should forget his existence, or, as his ancient 
name required and obliged him — and his bodily robust- 
ness well enabled him to do it — he should have gone 
into some regiment, and done his best by hard fighting 
for her to atone, as far as lay in his power, for the injury 
he had done his country. Instead of which, he has the 
courage to remind the whole world that he is still alive, 

* For details see a subsequent page. 

78 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and that he once directed the foreign policy of France. 
"A brazen-faced dunderhead." Naturally, one does not 
answer the statements of such people. 

After the consul with the order, L. came in with the 
good news that Rouen was occupied yesterday afternoon 
by General von Goeben, and that the German troops 
operating in that region had now turned their attention 
to Havre and Cherbourg. I requested him also to write 
something for his paper about the employment of the 
officers who had broken their word of honour, and about 
Gramont's audacity. 

According to EngUsh accounts from Paris things began, 
quite a fortnight since, to be very uncomfortable there. 
Several kinds of disease have broken out, and the death 
cases are considerably more numerous than in ordinary 
times. Anxiety and disheartenment, as well as want of 
food, have contributed. In the first week of September 
there were 900 deaths ; in that ending the 5th of October, 
nearly twice as many ; in the following week, 1900. Small- 
pox rages in the town, and is carrying oif many victims ; 
and a great number of people have died of bowel disease. 
Home-sickness has broken out like an epidemic among the 
battalions recruited from the provinces. An English corre- 
spondent who visited ; the hospital "du Midi" in the last 
week of October, noticed a placard above the entrance-gate, 
on which was printed, " Any person bringing in a cat, a dog, 
or three rats, will get his breakfast and dinner. N.B. It is 
absolutely essential that the animals be brought in alive." 
Similar placards are said to be quite common at the gates 
of the Paris hospitals. 

It wants still five minutes of midnight. The Minister is 
already off to bed — very early for him. The candles in the 
bottles I use for candlesticks are nearly burnt out. Mont 

XIII.] The Night Watchman at Mont Valerien. 79 

Valdrien thunders down a frightful salute into the valley 
below it. With what object ? Perhaps it is only to tell the 
Parisians it is about twelve o'clock, a sort of night watchman 
calling the hour ; otherwise all this shooting is much ado 
about nothing. During the last two days of battle, Abeken 
was told to-day that the forts threw about 6000 bombs and 
grenades, but only fifty-three of our men were hurt by them, 
and several of them only sUghtly wounded. 

8o Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



Wednesday, December 7. — Disagreeable weather. Only 
now and then a shot fired from the forts or the gun-boats. 
The lies with which Gambetta and his people have been 
trying to stop up the hole which the defeat of the " red- 
breeches " at Orleans has knocked in the hopes the people 
cherished of a great victory over us, induced us to send the 
following note to the Moniteur : — " The members of the 
Government of Tours have published accounts of the defeat 
of the Army of the Loire which read like fragments of the 
tales of the ' Arabian Nights.' For instance, their telegram 
says, ' The retreat of the Army of the Loire was accom- 
plished without loss, except that we left the heavy ships' 
guns spiked in the entrenched camp.' In reality, 12,000 un- 
wounded prisoners fell into the hands of the German troops. 
The Tours despatch goes on to say, 'we lost no field 
artillery.' Forty-seven field-pieces, and several mitrailleuses, 
were captured by the conquerors. The German people, 
remembering the virtues of the Catos, Aristideses, and other 
Republicans of antiquity, were disposed to hope that the 
Republic would have wiped lying out of the list of its means 
of operation, and fancied that it would lie less, at all events, 
than the Empire. It was evidently wrong. These jCatos of 
the present day have put to shame all previous attempts to 
substitute untruth for truth. When they have anything 
disagreeable to lie away, the advocates of Tours are much 
more unblushing than the generals of the Empire." After- 

XIV.] Austrian Diplomatists. 8i 

wards I telegraphed the new advances of our armies in the 
north, and the occupation of Rouen. 

After three o'clock I went with Wollmann across the 
Place d'Armes towards the court of the chateau, where 
fourteen of the bronze guns taken at Orleans are ranged 
under the very eyes of the equestrian statue of Louis XIV., 
directly below the inscription, ' A toutes les gloires de la France ' 
(to all the glories of France), an ironical comment upon 
that expression of Gallic conceit and swagger. The guns 
were some of them twelve and some four pounders, and be- 
hind them were ranged gun-carriages and ammunition carts. 
The French guns have each a name — one, for instance, is 
called " Le Bayard," another, " Le Lauzun," a third, " Le 
Boucheron "; while others are " Le Maxant," " Le Repace," 
" Le Brisetout," or similar horrors. On several there is a 
scrawl, stating that they were captured by the 4th Hussar 

Counts Holnstein and Lehndorf were with us at dinner. 
We had the fine Deidesheimer again. The Chief began to 
talk, inter alia, of his recollections of Frankfort. " I got on 
well with Thun ; he was an honest man. Rechberg was not 
bad upon the whole ; at least, he was personally honourable, 
though he was very violent and effervescing— one of those 
furious very fair folks." He went on to say : " No Austrian 
diplomatist of the school of that day troubled himself 
very much about the exact truth. The third of them, 
Prokesch, was not at all the man for me. He had brought 
with him from the East the trick of the most miserable 
intrigues. Truth was a matter of absolute indifference to 
him. I remember once, in a large company, there was 
some talk of an Austrian assertion which did not square 
with the truth. Prokesch raised his voice, and said, so 
that I should hear him distinctly, 'If that were not true 


82 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

I should have been lying (and he emphasized the word), 
in the name of the Imperial Royal Government.' He 
looked me straight in the face. I returned the look, and 
said quietly, ' Quite so, your Excellency.' He was obviously, 
shocked ; but when onTooking^ round he perceived nothing 
but down-dropped eyes and solemn silence, which meant 
to say that I was in the right, he turned on his heel and 
went into the dining-room, where covers were laid. After 
dinner he had recovered himself, and came across to me 
with a full glass, for otherwise I should have supposed that 
he was going to call me out. He said, ' Come, now ; let us 
make friends.' ' Why not ? ' said I ; ' but the protocol must 
of course be altered.' 'You are incorrigible,' he replied, 
smiling. It was all right. The protocol was altered, so that 
they recognised that it had contained an untruth." After- 
wards we spoke of Goltz, and the Chief once more told the 
Beaumont story of his unpopularity with his people, and 
asked Hatzfeld whether he had had anything to complain of 
from Goltz. Hatzfeld said " No ; but it was quite true that 
Goltz did not get on well with the people of the Embassy." 
After dinner, Consul Bamberg was with me, and received 
the article on the untruthfulness of the Tours people. I 

spoke to him also about L , whose capacity I praised 

while he said that he thought him a good patriot, and that 

he had formerly done some good work. . . . Later on, L 

himself turned up, and told us, among other things, that 
people were beginning to call the Hotel des Reservoirs the 
Hotel des Prdservoirs — no very brilliant joke, I thought ; 
but people may have their own ideas about it, and anybody 
who was at that time in Versailles will know well enough 
what they were. 

Hatzfeld told us at tea that numerous prisoners had passed 
through to-day, and that there had been considerable dis- 

XIV.] Wines and Brandies. 83 

turbance and disorder because civilians, especially women, 
had pressed in among the people, so that the escort had 
been driven to make use of the butt ends of their muskets. 
. . . We then spoke of the bombardment, and the gentle- 
men agreed that the King really wished it, and that there was 
a hope that it would begin very soon. . . . Moltke, it was 
added, wished it too. He had recently received an answer 
from Trochu to the letter he had sent, the sum and sub- 
stance of which was, " Many thanks ; but, for the present, 
we had better leave things as they are.'' 

Thursday, December 8. — A great deal of snow fell, and it 
was tolerably cold, so much so that, in spite of the big beech 
logs which were burning in my fireplace, I could not get 
reasonably warm in my room. . . . Prince Putbus was with 
us at dinner. Besides other good things, we had omelettes 
with mushrooms, and, as several times previously, pheasant 
and sauer kraut boiled in champagne. There was also 
Forster Kirchenstiick and Deidesheimer Hofstiick. The 
Minister said that he preferred the former. " The Forster," 
he said, " is undoubtedly a higher style of wine than the 
Deidesheimer." Finally, besides this and other excellent 
drinks, we had an admirable old corn brandy. Putbus sug- 
gested that sauer kraut was not wholesome, and the Chief 
said, " I do not think so. I eat it precisely because I believe 
it to be wholesome. But, Engel, give us a schnaps " (a drop 
of brandy). The Minister then showed Putbus the menu, 
and, during conversation about it, it was mentioned that a 
young diplomatist in Vienna had carefully collected all the 
menus of his chief, and preserved them in two finely-bound 
volumes, in which some most interesting combinations were 
to be found. 

Later on, the Chancellor remarked that the French must 
now have got one or two very big guns in one of the forts 

G 2 

84 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

nearest us. " One can make that out by the report, which is 
much louder, but they may very hkely hurt themselves with 
them. If they use a very heavy charge, the gun will either 
turn round and shoot straight into the town, or blow itself to 
pieces, though of course it might sometimes go off right, and 
then the shot might reach us'at Versailles." 

Somebody asked what was the position of the Emperor 
of Germany question, and the Chief said : "We have had 
trouble about it, with telegrams and letters ; but the most 
important were those which Count Holnstein brought us — 
a very intelligent person." Putbus asked what office he held. 
" Master of the Horse. He made a journey to Munich and 
back again in six days. In the condition of the railroads 
he must have made a great effort to manage it. Certainly 
he had a capital constitution to help him ; and he went, not 
merely to Munich, but as far as Hohenschwangau. King 
Ludwig, too, contributed very much to the speedy settle- 
ment of the affair. He took the matter up at once, and 
gave a decisive answer without putting off time." 

I do not know how it came about that the conversation 
happened upon the expressions, " swells, snobs, and cock- 
neys," which were then discussed at length. The Chief 
called a certain gentleman in the diplomatic service a 
" swell," and went on to say : " It is a capital word, the 
force of which we cannot quite give in German. It is 
1 something like ' stutzer ' (a dandy), but it includes, besides, 
a puffed-out chest, and a sort of general blown-up-ness. 

" ' Snob ' is quite different, and we have no exact ex- 
pression for that either. It signifies different things and 
properties, especially one-sidedness, narrowness and Philis- 
tinism, and that a man cannot get out of mere local or 
temporary views. The snob is a sort of bourgeois person. 
All this is not quite a complete description. He cannot 

XIV.] Snobs, Swells, and Cockneys. 85 

get beyond the interests of his family ; his circle of vision in 
political questions is extremely limited ; he is shut in by the 
ways of thinking and the prejudices in which he has been 
brought up. There are snobs, and very decided snobs too, 
of the female sex. We may also speak of party snobs— 
those who cannot help placing the higher politics on the 
same basis as questions of individual rights, radical snobs 
(fortschrittsnobs) . 

" A Cockney again is different. The word is appUed 
chiefly to Londoners. There are people there who have 
never got outside their walls and streets, their bricks and 
mortar — who have never seen a green thing, who have 
learned life only in town, and heard nothing beyond the 
sound of Bow bells. We have people in Berlin also who 
have never been away from it ; but compared with London, 
and even with Paris, which also has its cockneys, though 
they have a different name there, Berlin is a little place. 
In London, hundreds of thousands of people have never 
seen anything beyond the city. In such big towns views 
sprout up, ramify, and harden into permanent prejudices 
for those who live in them. It is in these great centres of 
population, where there is no experience, and consequently 
no correct idea — in many cases not even a conception — of 
anything outside of them, that this simpleton sort of narrow- 
ness is born. A simpleton who is not conceited is tolerable 
enough, but a simpleton who is impracticable, and conceited 
besides, is not to be endured. People in the country districts 
have a much better chance of understanding life as it really 
exists and grows about them. They may have less educa- 
tion, but what they know, they usually do know. There are 
snobs, of course, in the country. Well, for instance " (turn- 
ing to Putbus) " a first-rate huntsman, who is thoroughly 
convinced that he is the first man in the whole world, that 

86 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

hunting is really everything, and that people who understand 
nothing about it are worth nothing at all ; and a man on an 
estate outside there, where he is everybody, and where all 
the people depend entirely upon him. When he comes in 
from the country to the wool-market, and finds that nobody 
in the town takes him at the value at which he is estimated 
at home, he gets low, sits down on his woolsack and sulks, 
and takes no interest afterwards in anything but wool." 

The conversation dropped away soon after this into stories 
about horses and horsemanship. The Chief told us about 
his brown mare, which he had not at first thought much of, 
but which carried him for thirteen hours at Sedan — at least 
fifty-five English miles — and which was quite fit for service 
next day. Then he gave us other stories of horsemanship ; 
telhng us, for instance, how once, when he was out riding with 
his daughter, he had come up to a ditch which he himself 
certainly would never have liked to take, but which the 
Countess, her horse having got into his stride, took quite 
easily, and so forth. 

In the evening I was summoned several times to the 
Chief, wrote several articles, and among them one on the 
approval which the French Consul, Lefaivre, in Vienna, had 
expressed of Bebel, the Socialist Member of Parliament, on 
account of his sympathies with the French Republic. The 
moral of my article was, " So Germany is to go on for the 
future, obedient and thoughtful as in the past, while France 
is to transact business and be master." The Frankfurter 
Zeitung is no longer to be looked at in Berhn for extracts, 
as the French nonsense which it advocates is not worth 

At tea Keudell said I was in future to get not merely the 
rough draughts and sketches of important political matters 
which the Chief gave me, I was to see everything j he would 

XIV.] The Duty of Noblemen. 87 

talk the matter "over with Abeken, who holds the position 
of secretary of state here, a piece of news which I heard 
with much gratification. Bucher told me that the Minister 
had given them a very interesting discourse in the salon 
when coffee came on the table. Prince von Putbus had 
spoken of his wish to travel in very distant countries. "Yes, 
and we might help you,'' said the Chief; " we might send 
you to notify the establishment of the German Empire to 
the Emperor of China and the Tycoon of Japan." 

Afterwards, in view of the future, and naturally with 
some reference to his guest, he had launched out into a 
long discourse about the duties of the German aristocracy. 
The higher nobility ought to have some feeling for the 
interests of the State, to recognise their mission, to protect 
the State from vacillation in the conflicts of parties, to main- 
tain a firm attitude, and so forth. There is nothing to be 
said against this, bjit when they associate with Strousberg 
they may just as well become bankers at once. One won- 
ders whether, at that time, the Prince understood the whole 
affair perfectly, and whether he was accommodating his 
language' to what he knew to be the facts. 

Friday, December 9. — I telegraph the victory, the day be- 
fore yesterday, of our 17 th Division at Beaugency over a 
French corps of about sixteen battalions, with six-and-twenty 
cannon, and I contradict the story of the Gazette de France 
about Galvez, the Ambassador of Peru. 

At breakfast we were told that Prince Trubetzkoi, a 
relation of Orloff' s, wanted protection for his villa from our 
army police, and had also asked the Chancellor that our 
troops should be taken away from the neighbourhood of his 
property, as their being massed there raises the price of 
the necessaries of life. His letter will go to the waste-paper 
basket. The Commandant of Versailles, General von 

88 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Voigts-Rhetz, was with us at dinner. I believe he is a 
brother of him who was governor-general in Hanover in 
1866, and who has now won the battle of Beaune la Rolande, 
a long man, with dark beard and eagle nose. The con- 
versation, which turned principally on the recent battles 
between Orleans and Blois, was of no particular importance. 
The Chief was absent, being unwell, and it is believed that 
he has pains in his leg. In the evening Bamberg came 
in, and after him L. who had heard from a good source 
that the bombardment would begin almost at once, that 
the King had burst out against Hindersin in a frightful fuiy, 
because there was not ammunition enough ready yet, and 
that he himself was now to take the matter in hand. 

Later in the evening extracts were made for the King 
from the report in the Observer of the discourse of a certain 
M. de Fonvielle in London on the bombardment, the 
purport of which was that the speaker had laughed at the 
idea that it was from motives of humanity that King William 
was not allowing Paris to be bombarded. De Fonvielle had 
said that he was unable to do it, and that his batteries were 
kept at a respectful distance by the brave marines who were 
serving in the forts. His plan was to starve the city, in 
which, however, he would not succeed, as it was provisioned 
for more than two months, and as earnest study of the 
question of nourishment had shown them how to convert 
the skin, blood, and bones of slaughtered animals into food, 
Paris would not let itself be intimidated by the attempt to 
reduce it by famine. Its cry was " No surrender," its only 
wish to sweep the enemy out of France, and it had now got 
the broom in its hands with which it meant to perform this 

Saturday, December 10. — Mist in the morning, a great 
deal of snow fallen, and the sky still full of it. The Chief 

XIV.] The Deputation from the Reichstag. 89 

is not yet right. I telegraph more about the battle of Beau- 
gency, in which the ist Bavarian, and the 8th and 22nd 
North German divisions fought against two new army corps 
on the French side, and more than a thousand prisoners 
and six cannon fell into our hands. The Militdr Wochen- 
blatt again notifies the escape of seven French officers who 
have broken their parole, and I forward a note about it 
for further publication in the Moniteur. At dinner the 
Chief, Bismarck-Bohlen, who has been suffering for three 
days, and Abeken, who has had the good fortune to be 
commanded to dine with the Crown Prince, were all absent. 
In the evening I prepared for the King an article in the 
National Zeitung, which shows that they are speaking even 
in the Reichstag of the delay in the bombardment, and 
which also expresses a wish for some explanation of the 
reasons of the delay. 

Having been sent for by the Chief, I took the liberty 
before leaving to ask how things were going on in the 
Reichstag about the treaties. He replied, " All right ; the 
agreement with Bavaria will either be adopted to-day, or voted 
upon to-morrow, and the address to the King too." I then 
permitted myself to ask how he was in health. " Better," 
he said, " it is a varicose vein in the leg." I said, would 
it trouble him long ? "It may go away in a day, or it may 
bother me for three weeks.'' 

Keudell told us at tea that the Reichstag had decided to 
send a great deputation to Versailles, charged to present its 
congratulations to the King on the unity of Germany, and 
on the restoration of the dignity of Emperor. Abeken did 
not like this. He said, sulkily, " It is frightful for the Reichs- 
tag to send us thirty fellows here — a deputation of thirty 
people is really dreadful." He gave us no hint of his reason 
for being annoyed. Thirty wise Bonzes with the title of 

90 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Privy Councillors might possibly not have been frightful, but 
thirty Marshals of the Household are enough to excite one. 
Hatzfeld expressed himself anxious about our immediate 
future in a military point of view. He believes that there is 
room for anxiety about our position in the west. Von der 
Tann, he says, has only 25,000 left of his 45,000 men, and 
the armies which have sprung out of the ground at the 
stamp of Gambetta's foot, are continually growing in num- 
ber. News has come in at the Bureau that the French have 
got together two very large armies, and that the seat of 
Government has been removed from Tours to Bordeaux. 

It is doubtfulj of course, how long this energy of Gambetta 
will meet with a response in the capacity for resistance in 
the country, and in its readiness to submit to further military 
drains. In the southern departments people appear to be 
very much discontented and thoroughly exhausted with this 
destructive war. The Gazette de France gives a letter dated 
" Tours, ist December,'' in which the writer says, "I have 
seen nothing for a long time which can be compared with 
the misery which the last levee en masse has entailed upon 
our country districts. The compulsory contribution for the 
pay and equipment of the mobihsable national guard for the 
next three months has converted our ill-humour into rage, 
and our distress into despair. The reason is, that though 
our good peasants may be much less clever than they are 
represented by Balzac and Victorien Sardou, they are 
certainly not such simpletons as Gambetta would like them 
to be for the success of his Republican exhortations. An 
instinct which is all but infallible shows them that while a 
levee en masse of fathers of families might likely enough only 
take place on paper, a war contribution makes an imme- 
diate demand upon them, unless it is in the form of a 
loan, which would press still more heavily. The peasants 

XIV.] opinion in the Country Districts. 91 

say that on the day when our mobilisable men get their 
equipment, they will not have a shirt left for their own 

" This extraordinary tax, which bursts upon us like a 
bomb-shell, at the beginning of the worst season of the 
year, has no relation whatever to the resources of our un- 
fortunate country communities. Only two of the four 
simple rules of arithmetic are left to us — addition to our 
losses and multiplication of the misfortunes which are over- 
taking us. The Germans have taken subtraction for them- 
selves, and the demagogues division. In our south-easterly 
departments, among the people of the Ardfeche, the Durance, 
and the Rhone, want and misery began before the war, the 
invasion, and the republic. A drought, which made water 
in many places an article of luxury ; the complete failure of 
the grass and hay crops, which compels us to sell our cattle 
for a third of the usual price ; the sickness among the silk- 
worms, which has ceased to be interesting, having become 
chronic ; the grape louse, an agreeable change after the 
grape rot — like M. Cr^mieux, instead of Louis Bonaparte — 
the unheard-of depression in the value of our manufactures ; 
all these taken together had thrown us upon the bed of 
sickness long before the day when infatuation, folly, frivolity, 
improvidence, bounce, and incapacity united to betray France 
to the Germans. We were already sick enough. The war 
gave us the finishing stroke, and the Republic is looking after 
our burial." 

Sunday, December 11. — In the morning, at nine o'clock, 
we have five degrees of cold, the garden below is covered 
with hoar-frost, and the moisture is frozen in delicate thread- 
work on the branches of the trees and shrubs. I pay Bis- 
marck-Bohlen a sick visit, his illness having taken another 
form. The Chief, too, has not yet quite recovered, but he 

92 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

must be better, for he drives out at about two o'clock. 
Half an hour later, I take a walk through the park of the 
chiteau, where about fifty persons, some of them ladies of 
doubtful character, and three or four whose characters are 
not at all doubtful, are skating on the big central reservoir. 
As I came back, I heard somebody scolding furiously in 
French. Looking round, I noticed walking right behind me 
an elderly man, who limped a little, and who was abusing 
an over-dressed and over-painted female who was going 
mincingly past us. " Shameless women, who bring dis- 
grace into our families, and ruin on our young people ; they 
ought to be driven out of the town," he said, turning to me 
as if he wished to bring me into the conversation. Then he 
came close up, constantly scolding, and ultimately coming 
to a person of the male sex, whom he called the destroyer of 
France, declaring that the misery into which these men had 
plunged their country was a frightful spectacle, which cried 
aloud to Heaven. I said to him, " But France, you know, 
wanted the war, and must accept the consequences." He 
allowed that, but still burst out in furious abuse of the Re- 
public and its leaders, especially Gambetta ; Trochu, Favre, 
Gambetta, and the whole of them, were good-for-nothing 
blood-suckers. The Republic meant government in the 
interests of the dregs of the people, who looked askance at 
the comforts of their neighbours, and would like to dis- 
tribute the plunder amongst themselves. He would rather 
see the King of Prussia master of France, and the country 
mutilated, cut up small, and broken into fragments, than the 
Republic. The Emperor, too, had been good for nothing. 
He was a mere usurper. Louis Philippe had pleased him 
just as little ; he was not the right heir. But the Republic 
was the worst of all ; and so on. I accompanied the en- 
raged Legitimist as far as the Place Hoche, where I left 

XIV.] Balloons drawn by Eagles. 93 

him, after he had told me his name and address, and I 
had promised that I would pay him a visit soon. 

In the Avenue of Saint-Cloud I met Hofrath and Major 
Borck, who asked me whether I knew what could have been 
the reason why the King had been so very much depressed 
yesterday after Abeken had had his talk with him. I could 
not help him in the least. 

The Chief dined with us to-night, but spoke httle, and 
complained of headache. Hatzfeld told us that Hartrott 
had just informed him that 4400 horses and 1000 waggons 
were on the way from Germany to be used in the transport 
of ammunition. The bombardment of Paris would begin in 
eight or ten days. The Chief answered, " It ought to have 
begun sooner, and, as for the eight days, that has often 
been promised us." 

In the evening, I cut out for the King a number of 
articles from the German newspapers, expressing their 
views upon the situation, and an article in the Belgian 
Echo of Parliament. Abeken will bring them before him 

Our Moniteur gives us another list of the French officers 
who have escaped by breaking their parole. There are no 
fewer than twenty-two of them, ten of whom escaped from 
Hirschberg. I see from the same paper that the Pall Mall 
Gazette has accepted as genuine coin, and passed into circu- 
lation, a joke in the manner of Baron Miinchausen. Moved 
by the mischances that have happened to several of the air- 
balloons sent up from Paris, the French are supposed to have 
put their calculating finger to their nose, and to have solved 
the problem of guiding these conveyances in the following 
manner. It is as simple as the egg of Columbus. They 
harness eagles to them. The correspondent of the newspaper 
writes, " However extravagant the idea of making birds guide 

94 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

balloons to their destination may appear, people in Paris have 
gone into the matter seriously. It is said that satisfactory 
experiments have been made with eagles from the Botanic 
gardens, harnessed to the car. These experiments took 
place in the presence of the Postmaster-General Ramport, of 
M. Chassinat, of the chief of the postal service in the De- 
partment of the Seine, and of the Receiver-General Mattet. 
Four or six powerful birds were harnessed to the balloon, 
and were guided by an aeronaut by means of a piece of raw 
flesh fastened to the end of a long stick, which was held in 
front of their beaks. The greedy birds keep struggling in 
vain to reach it, as it moves through the air with the same 
velocity as they do. When the aeronaut wishes the balloon 
to move in a different direction, he turns the stick, with the 
beef-steak at the endj to the right or left. If he wants to 
go downj he drops it ; if to ascend, he lifts it up." The 
editor of the Moniteur adds the remark, '* We are afraid that 
these eagles were geese." 

Hatzfeld told me at tea all sorts of interesting things 
about his experiences and observations in Paris. In 1866 
Napoleon said to Goltz, that he could not allow a complete 
incorporation of Saxony with Prussia, but if only the name 
and a small portion of the kingdom — Dresden, for instance, 
with a few square miles in the neighbourhood — ^were left, 
he would be quite content. If that be true, I have reason 
to think that the Chiefs advice was to take no advantage of 
this offer. At first, the Empress could not endure Goltz, for 
the following reason. During the interim between Goltz 
and his predecessor, Prince Reuss represented the embassy, 
and the Court was very much attached to him ; he was in 
high consideration, especially as coming of a princely family 
Eugenie would have liked him to have been ambassador, 
but he was sent off to Brussels, and the Empress attributed 

XIV.] The Empress and a Restoration. 95 

that to Goltz, disliked him for it, received him with marked 
coldness, never invited him to her select parties, and only 
saluted him, not speaking to him at all, upon pubhc 
occasions. Goltz, who was supposed to have been much 
smitten with her, often went away in a regular fury. Once, 
however, when he happened to have been invited to such a 
select evening, she had been compelled to say something to 
him, and in her perplexity, nothing occurred to her but the 
question, " What is Prince Reuss doing now ?" When Goltz 
went home, he is said to have been in a frightful rage, 
and to have used a disagreeable epithet. . . . After- 
wards, however, the relationship between them improved, 
and Goltz ultimately stood so well wth the Emperor, that 
he (Hatzfeld) was of opinion that if Goltz had been alive in 
1870, there would have been no war between us and France. 
I asked what sort of woman the Empress was. He 
said, "Very beautiful, not over middle height, splendid 
bust, fair, with much natural intelligence, but little acquired 
learning, and few interests in intellectual matters." She had 
once taken him, with other gentlemen, through her rooms, 
and even into her sleeping apartment, but he had nowhere 
seen a book, or even a newspaper. Hatzfeld is of opinion 
that things will come round in the end to Napoleon's restora- 
tion. After all, he was not so bad as people represented 
him ; and certainly by nature, he was the very reverse of 
truculent, being rather soft. If the French should see that 
they cannot pull through with their Republic of advocates, 
through whom they are falling more and more into ruin, 
they would invite him back again some day. As a second 
time the Saviour of Society, he might venture to treat 
with us upon the basis of what we require in order to make 
peace. His services in securing order might then make up 
for the loss in power and authority, which would be the 

96 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

necessary consequence of his giving up Elsass and part of 



I insert here a letter which a sympathiser with the Legiti- 
mist whom I have already mentioned in this diary, wrote to 
Prince Bismarck in 187 1. It was as follows : — 

" Prince, — Since the capitulation of this accursed city of 
Paris, very extraordinary things have happened in ouj; 
unfortunate France. 

"Ah, Prince, I am not initiated into the secrets of Pro- 
vidence, but it appears to me, if you will permit me to say 
so, that you were too magnanimous to that miserable and 
despicable population of Paris. Your armies ought to 
have humbled them to the uttermost, entered their city in 
triumph, and occupied it completely. 

" Woe to him who had dared to disturb so well-deserved 
a triumph. You thought it better, however, to show more 
moderation. Look at the results. I do not know what 
the future may have in store for us ; but it appears to me 
that your Excellency ought, as speedily as possible, to 
interfere with, and put an end to, a condition of things 
which is becoming critical for France and dangerous for 
Europe, and which may involve serious consequences for the 
other states. Beware, Prince, of the propaganda of wicked 
passions. If you could listen to the expression of all the 
hopes of these revolutionaries of the newest sort, as I can, 
you would, perhaps, not be without some anxiety about the 
future. Be assured. Prince, that if the Republic establishes 
itself in France, it will soon cause disturbances in every 
monarchical state of Europe. It would be better that France 
should perish than that she should receive such a form of 
government, the consequence of which could be nothing 
but incessant miseries, vice, and revolution. 

XIV.] A Frenchman's Appeal to the Chancellor. 97 

" When I see so many crimes and basenesses, and so deep 
a moral degradation, I despair, and cry for some strong 
and energetic hand to put an end to it all. Yes, Prince, 
the whole party of right-thinking people in France would 
greatly prefer the sovereignty of the foreigner to that of the 
demagogism with which we are threatened, and which will 
never be put an end to till it has been annihilated. That, 
Prince, is the mission which is laid upon you. I believe that 
the right moment has come. Do not neglect it. No feeling 
ought to restrain your Excellency, especially when you think 
of the past, and the horrible struggles which we are witness- 
ing every day. The tiger is unchained, and, if he is left 
loose, he will devour everything. Chain up Paris ! Annihi- 
late it if necessary, or subject it to your domination, and you 
will have deserved well of mankind. Allow me, Prince, to 
go one step further, and suggest to you a partition of France 
on an early day. Let Italy have the piece along the course 
of the Rhone, from Geneva to the sea, with the island 
of Corsica. Give Spain the strip up to the line of tlie 
Garonne, from sea to sea. Give England Algiers, and take 
all the rest, Prince, for yourself. It is reasonable that you 
should have the largest portion. Then let Russia and 
Austria aggrandise themselves in the East. 

" Oh, my country ! thou hast willed it ! And thou, O 
accursed Paris, arrogant city, sink of all corruptions, sole 
cause of all our sufferings, may an end be put at last to thy 
domination ! To you, Prince, all this may appear strange, 
coming from a Frenchman ; but I have been witness of so 
many deeds of shame that I am weary of such a country, 
where every crime has free scope, and where we never 
meet men of high sentiments. I always cherish the hope, 
Prince, that I may one day have the good fortune to see, 
your Excellency here in Lyons, another city which stands 

gS Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

much in need of chastisement. Permit me, most gracious 
sir, to express to you the deep respect with which I have 
the honour to be," &c., &c. 
The diary may now proceed. 

Monday, December 12. — The Chief appears to be worse 
again, and he is said to be in a very fretful temper ; Dr. 
Lauer has been with him. The Times contains an article, 
which is all we could wish, the principal points of which I 
may note here. It is as follows : " In the present crisis it 
is not the duty of the Germans to show high feeling or sym- 
pathy, or magnanimously to forgive their defeated enemy. 
The question rather is of a simple piece of business and of 
prudence. What will the enemy do after the war, when he 
has recovered his strength? People in England have but 
a faint recollection of the numerous cruel lessons which 
Germany has had from France during the last four centuries. 
; For 400 years no nation has had such bad neighbours as 
they have found in the French, who werfe always unsociable, 
irreconcileable, greedy of territory, not ashamed to take it, 
and always ready to assume the offensive. During this 
whole time Germany has endured the encroachments and 
usurpations of France. To-day, when she has won the 
I victory and has conquered her neighbour, it would in our 
opinion be very foolish of her not to take advantage of the 
situation, and not to acquire for herself a boundary likely to 
secure peace for her in the future. As far as we know there 
is HO law in the world entitling France to retain the terri- 
tories which were formerly annexed by her, after the owners, 
from whom they were taken, have laid their hands upon the 
thief. The French complain bitterly to those who will 
listen to them that they are exposed to losses which threaten 
their honour, and they incessantly and earnestly entreat 
people not to dishonour poor France, to leave her her 

XIV.] The Times on Peace Conditions. 99 

honour unstained. Will her honour, however, be preserved, 
if France refuses to pay for her neighbour's windows which 
she has broken ? The real fact is, that she lost her honour 
when she broke her neighbour's windows, and only her deep 
repentance, and her honest determination not to repeat the 
offence, can restore it. 

" We must say with all frankness, that France has never 
shown herself so senseless, so pitiful, so worthy of contempt 
and reproach, as at the present moment, when she obstin- 
ately declines to look the facts in the face, and refuses 
to accept the misfortune her own conduct has brought 
upon her. A France broken up in utter anarchy — Ministers 
who have no recognised chief, who rise from the dust in 
their air balloons, and carry with them for ballast shameful 
and manifest lies and proclamations of victories that exist 
only in their imagination — a government which is sustained 
by lying and imposture, and chooses rather to continue and 
to increase the waste of human life than to resign its own 
dictatorship and its wonderful Utopia of a Republic — that 
is the spectacle which France presents to-day. It is hard 
to say whether any nation ever before burdened itself with 
such a load of shame. 

" The quantity of lies which France, official and unofficial, 
has been manufacturing for us since the month of July, in the 
full knowledge that they are lies, is something frightful and 
absolutely unprecedented. Perhaps it is not much after all 
in comparison with the immeasurable heaps of illusions and 
unconscious lies which have so long been in circulation 
among the French. Their men of genius, who are recog- 
nised as such in all departments of literature, are apparently 
of opinion that France outshines other nations in a super- 
human wisdom, that she is the New Zion of the whole world, 
and that the literary productions of the French for the last 

100 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

fifty years, however insipid, unhealthy, and often, indeed, 
devilish, contain a real Evangel, rich in blessing for all the 
children of men." 

The article concludes in these words : " We believe that 
Bismarck will take as much of Alsace, and of Lorraine too, 
as he chooses, and that it will be the better for him, the 
better for us, the better for all the world except France, and 
the better in the long run for France herself. Through large 
and quiet measures M. von Bismarck is aiming with eminent 
ability at one single object — the well-being of Germany and 
of the world. If the large-hearted, peace-loving, enlightened, 
and earnest people of Germany grow into one nation, and 
Germany becomes mistress of the Continent in place of 
France, which is light-hearted, ambitious, quarrelsome, and 
over-exciteable, it will be the most momentous event of the 
present day, and all the world must hope that it may soon 
come about." 

It is an admirable article, and we shall bring it to the 
knowledge of our friends in Versailles through the Moniteur. 

At breakfast we talked of the fact that a few officers 
still despaired of the success of a bombardment of Paris. 
Formerly, however, the general staff had no doubt on the 
subject ; and if some of them now have changed their views, 
we can see what motives and influences explain the change, 
and one of the gentlemen expressed himself emphatically on 
the subject. The chief difficulty now seems to be this, that 
large bodies of troops must be massed in the neighbourhood 
to cover the redoubts and positions where the guns are to 
stand, and may then be fired upon with effect from the forts 
and gunboats. During this talk Hatzfeld had information 
that his ponies had managed to get out of Paris unslaugh- 
tered, and with tlreir flesh on them, and were now on their 
way to his house here. 

XIV.] The Condition of Paris. loi 

The Chief stayed a long time in bed to-day, and it was 
not till the afternoon that he was able to transact business. 
He was also absent at dinner. Hatzfeld told us there that 
he had talked with several of the diplomatists who had just 
come in from Paris — the Russian General-Adjutant, Prince 
Wittgenstein ; the English MiUtary Plenipotentiary, Clare- 
mont ; and a Belgian. They left Paris yesterday morning 
early, and got here this afternoon by Villeneuve Saint- 
Georges, with the ponies and some other horses. Claremont, 
Hatzfeld said, impressed him as a sensible man, well 
acquainted with the condition of things in Paris. He said 
that he himself had not had to eat any horseflesh or to 
endure any hardships, that all the cabs and omnibuses 
seemed still to be plying in the city, that people were still 
playing pieces in the theatre at the Porte Saint-Martin, and 
that concerts were given twice a week at the Opera House. 
According to his account the gas lamps and street lanterns 
are still burning, though only one in live of the latter is 
lighted, as indeed is usual here in Versailles ; and the only 
difference is — and it is only among the well-to-do classes — 
that people regularly go to bed about ten o'clock, whereas 
before the city was blockaded they used not to go till 
midnight. The villages inside the French lines have all 
suffered worse than those inside ours. He supposes they 
may have provisions for two months yet. Abeken, on the 
other hand, had learned from Voigts-Rhetz that Moblots 
had come out in crowds to surrender. They had been fired 
upon, but a number of them, not frightened by that, had 
forced us to take them prisoners, and when they were ex- 
amined had declared that they had suffered great misery, 
as only the regular troops were properly supplied with food. 

All the evening I was hard at work. I translated articles 
for the King from the Times and Daily Telegraph, expressing 

102 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

themselves forcibly in favour of the restoration of the 
German Empire and the Imperial dignity. I prepared for his 
perusal several press utterances about the bombardment, and 
sent out, for printing, the manifesto which Ducrot addressed 
to his troops before the last great sortie. The conclusion 
of this pompous discourse deserves to be put on record. It 
runs as follows : " As for myself, I am firmly determined — 
and I declare it in presence of the whole country — that 
I shall return to Paris either a dead man or a conqueror. 
You may see me fall, soldiers^ — you will not see me retreat ; 
and if I should fall, do not halt a moment, but avenge me." 
Ducrot returned to Paris from the Marne neither a dead 
man nor a conqueror. His address to his soldiers was 
nothing but empty phrases. He is a play actor, and has 
broken his solemnly-pledged word of honour a second time. 
It is doing him no injustice for the Moniteur, after giving 
his address, to put a note to it, " Fortunately we know the 
vahie of General Ducrot's word of honour." 

After avowing that it cannot help viewing with lively 
satisfaction both the fact of the restoration of the German 
Empire, and the way in which it has come about, the Times 
goes on to say : 

" The political significance of this change in the situation 
cannot be estimated too highly. An immense revolu- 
tion has been accomplished in Europe, and all our old- 
fashioned traditions have suddenly grown out of date. 
Nobody can foretell the relations which must establish 
themselves between the Great Powers, but it is easy to see 
what, in its broader features, is the tendency of the epoch 
on which we are about to enter. There will be a strong 
and united Germany, at the head of which stands a family 
representing the interests of the German Fatherland and its 
mihtary reputation. On the one side this Germany touches 

XIV.] The Future of Europe. 103 

Russia, a strong and vigilant power ; on the other France, 
which will either patiently bide the time when her destiny- 
will once more change, or, burning with the thirst for 
vengeance, will lie in wait for the opportunity of an attack. 
She will certainly not be in a position for a long time to 
resume the great part she has played in Europe, and 
which was conceded to her during the splendid period ot 
the Napoleonic Restoration. As far as we in England are 
concerned, instead of having two powerful military states on 
the continent, as hitherto, with a natioh between them with 
its forces scattered and unprepared for a struggle, which 
might have been annihilated at any moment if these over- 
whelming powers had happened to unite, we should have a 
solid bar in the middle of Europe likely to strengthen the 
whole framework. The political hopes of previous genera- 
tions of English statesmen have thus been fulfilled. They 
all wished for a strong central Power. They wrought for it 
in war as well as in peace, through negotiations and treaties 
— at one time with the Empire, at another with the new 
Power which was rising in the North. From this day for- 
ward Germany must make a reality of what has long been 
nothing more than a political idea." 

We must not on that account forget the fact that English 
policy has for the last half century been more favourable to 
Austria than to the " power which was rising in the North.'' 

L. came in after eight, and claimed to know "On excellent 
authority," as usual, that the King did not care for the as- 
sumption of the Imperial dignity, and that the arrival of the 
thirty-man deputation from the Reichstag especially had not 
been to his liking. He is supposed to have said, " I dare 
say I owe this dignity after all to Herr Lasker." 

Afterwards I wrote an article for the press, by the Chiefs 
direction, pointing out that we are now fighting, not merely 

I04 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap, 

against France, but against those cosmopolitan Red Repub- 
licans — Garibaldi, Mazzini (who is now with Garibaldi, acting 
as his adviser), and the Polish, Spanish, and Danish members 
of the same party. The object for which this agreeable 
company is striving is set forth in a letter from the son of 
the prefect Ordinaire, who describes himself as an officer of 
Garibaldi's general staff, This letter, dated Autun, Novem- 
ber 1 6, and directed to the editor of the journal Rights of 
Man, says : 

" From the postmark you will see where we are — in the 
worst den of priestcraft in all France. Autun is one of the 
chief centres of the monarchical reaction. It looks more like 
an immense monastery than a town, with its great blank 
walls and its iron-barred windows, behind which monks of 
every description are praying and conspiring for the true 
cause and its right divine. Everywhere in the streets the 
red shirt comes in contact with the priest's black gown ; and 
even the shop people, like everything else in the place, have 
a mystic look of having been saturated with holy water. We 
are on the ' Index ' here, and slanderous stories are told about 
us — too maay for even the waters of the flood to wash away. 
Every breach of discipline — and some are unavoidable with . 
volunteers and free companions — is at once represented as a 
great crime. An outrage worthy of death will be manufac- 
tured out of nothing. The mountain often, of course, brings 
forth its mouse, but the bad effect produced on public opinion 
remains, notwithstanding. 

"Could you believe it? The authorities themselves aggra- 
vate the situation. The authorities make themselves, I hope 
unwittingly, the echo of these slanderers, and regard us with 
evil eyes, so that our army almost seems to be considered by 
our fellow citizens a band of robbers. Yes, believe me, the 

XIV.] The United States of Europe. 105 

Monarchists of every shade have intermitted none of their 
pernicious activities, and hate us because we have sworn to 
leave none of those market-place stalls standing from which 
Kings and Emperors dictate their commands and caprices 
to the nations. Yes, we proclaim it openly, we are the 
soldiers of the -Revolution; and, I will add, not merely of 
the French, but of the Cosmopolitan revolution. Italians, 
Spaniards, Poles, and Hungarians understood, when they 
hurried here to fight under the banner of France, that they 
were in reality defending the Universal Republic.^' 

" The significance of the struggle is already clear. It is 
between the principle of Divine right, of authority, of 
monarchy, and that of the sovereignty of the people, of 
civilisation, and of freedom. The Fatherland vanishes 
in presence of the Republic. 

"We are citizens of the world, and we are ready, each 
according to his capacity, to fight to the death for the 
realisation of the grand idea of the United States of Europe, 
the brotherhood of all free peoples. The monarchical 
reactionists know this, and their enmity as good as doubles 
the Prussian armies. At our breasts we have the bayonets 
of the foreigner, and treachery at our backs ! Why are all 
these ancient officials not chased away? Why are these 
former generals of the Empire, with their persons more or 
less decorated with their plumes, their orders, and their gold 
lace, not one and all cashiered without mercy? Can the 
Government of the National Defence not see that they will ' 
betray it ; that with their hypocritical mano2uvres, their 
shameful capitulations, their incomprehensible retreats, they 
are preparing the way for a Bonapartist restoration, or at 
least for an Orleans or a Bourbon ascending the throne ? 

" Let the Government which has undertaken to liberate 

io6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the soil of our country, polluted by the hordes of the foreigner, 
beware. Let it rise to the height of its own mission. 
Living in an epoch like ours, in the frightful circumstances 
in which we stand, it is not enough to be an honest man. 
One must show some energy, and must not lose his head, or 
drown himself in a glass of water. Let the Cremieuxs, the 
Glais-Bizoins, the Fourichons, recollect how men acted in 
1792 and 1793. To-day we need men of the convention, a 
Danton, a Robespierre. Up, gentlemen, and room for the 
Revolution ! She alone can help us. Gireat crises must be 
met by great means and great measures. 

" Let us never forget that internal organisation must con- 
tribute to our defence against the outside world. It is a 
great matter to have nothing to trouble us when we march 
against the enemy ; it is worth something to know that we 
are sustained by Republican officials, and that the army is 
not in the hands of men who are ready to sell it. What 
signify the formalities of the military hierarchy ? Choose 
your generals, if necessary, from the ranks of your soldiers, 
and especially from among your young soldiers. Infuse a 
little fresh blood into the veins of the Republic, and 
the Republic will rescue herself and redeem all Europe 
from the yoke of the tyrants. Rise ! A single effort, and 
long live the Universal Republic ! " 

The Fatherland vanishes in presence of the Republic ! 
Use the same great weapons as Danton and Robespierre did; 
cut off everybody's head who differs from you in politics or 
religion ; let the guillotine be declared a permanent institu- 
tion. Generals Chanzy, Bourbaki, Faidherbe, Vinoy, Ducrot 
and Trochu, are to be sent about their business, and men 
from the ranks to take their places. This is what is 
preached by the son of a prefect, in the department of the 
Doubs, an officer of Garibaldi's general staff. I wonder 

XIV.] The Chancellor's Retirement contemplated. 107 

how many will say Amen to these proposals when they 
read them a few days after this in the Moniteur. 

Tuesday, December 13. — In the morning I wrote another 
article on the confession of faith of the cosmopolitan 
Republicans. Then I telegraphed the capitulation of 
Pfalzburg, and the commencement of the bombardment of 
Montmddy. The Chiefs health is a trifle better, but he still 
feels himself very limp. 

At breakfast the Chancellor's possible retirement was 
talked over ; we amused ourselves over a Lasker Ministry, 
saying that " Lasker would turn out a kind of Ollivier," 
and, half joking, half serious, we discussed Delbriick as the 
probable Chancellor of the Confederation, " a very sensible 
manj but no politician." I thought it inconceivable that 
they could allow the Chief to retire, even at his own request. 
The gentlemen thought it not impossible. I said that if 
things here went on four weeks longer they would be forced 
to recall him. Bucher doubted whether in such a case he 
would come back, and said positively that from his know- 
ledge of him he felt sure that he would never come back, 
if he once retired. He enjoyed Varzin far too thoroughly 
when he was away from business and bother of every kind. 
He was happiest in the woods and in the country. " Believe 
me," the Coun tess ha d once said to him, " a wr«,4^ '(aturnip) 
interests him more than all youf politics,'' a mot which one , 
must accept with some reserve, and consider applicable only 
in his occasional moods. 

At half-past two I went to him for business. He desired 
me to direct people's attention to the King of Holland's 
perplexity about new Ministers, and to point out that it was 
a consequence of the parliamentary system which forces the 
King's advisers to retire, whatever may be the circumstances, 
when the majority of the representatives of the people are 

io8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

against them on any single question. He remarked, "I re- 
member that, when I waiTMinister, these people were having 
their twentieth or twenty^rst ministry since the introduction of 
their parliamentary system. When people hold strictly to the 
principle that the Minister must be sent about his business if 
the majority goes against him, too many politicians get used 
up ; they have then to go to the second-raters. In the end 
there is nobody left willing to devote himself to the kind 
of work. The moral is, either that the salary of ministerial 
offices ought to be raised, or that people must a little relax 
the severity of parliamentary practice." 

The Chief drove out about three, after having Russell 
again with him, and he also came, God be praised ! to dinner 
with us, where he drank a little beer and a couple of glasses 
of Vichy water with champagne. We had turtle-soup, and, 
among other delicacies, a wild boar's head and a compote of 
raspberry jelly and mustard, which was excellent. The 
Minister said, " Things were very bad with me this time. I 
was troubled with varicose veins in 1866 also. I lay full- 
length on the bed, and had to answer letters of a very des- 
perate sort — very distracting for me — with a pencil. They" 
(he meant the Austrians) " then wanted to disarm on the 
northern frontier, but to keep their armies together farther 
down, and I had to convince them that that would not do 
for us at all." 

He then spoke of his negotiations with Russell, and of 
Gortchakoff's demands. " The people in London," he said, 
" don't want to return a straightforward ' Yes ' to the proposal 
to restore to Russia.and Turkey the Black Sea, and complete 
sovereignty over their own coast lines. They are afraid of 
public opinion in England ; and Russell returns perpetually 
to the idea that some sort of equivalent should be offered. He 
asked, for instance, whether we could not adhere simpliciter 

XIV.] England and the Black Sea. 109 

to the agreement of April 16, 1856. I told him that Germany- 
had no real interest in it. Or whether we might not pledge 
ourselves to remain neutral, if it came to a conflict ? I said 
I was no friend of conjectural politics, under which class 
such a pledge would come ; and that it would all depend on 
the circumstances. At present we saw no reason to trouble 
ourselves about it. That ought to be enough for him. For 
the rest, I was not of opinion that gratitude was without its 
place in politics. The present Emperor had always shown 
himself friendly and well-disposed to us ; while Austria had 
never shown herself trustworthy, and had occasionally been 
very uncertain. As for England,, he knew well enough how 
much we had to thank her for. The friendliness of the 
Emperor, I said, was a relic of old relationships which origi- 
nated partly in the family connection ; but it rested also on 
the recognition of the fact that our interests were not in 
collision with his. Nobody knew how that might be in future, 
and it was better not to talk about it." ..." Our position, 
I represented, was different from what it had been. We were 
the only power that had reason to be content ; we had no call 
to do anybody a favour when we did not know whether he 
would do us a service in return." 

" He came back to his equivalent, and asked me whether 
there was nothing I could propose to him. I suggested the 
opening of the Dardanelles and the Black Sea to all nations. 
It would probably be agreeable to Russia, as it would give 
her access to the Mediterranean from the Black Sea ; and 
to Turkey, as she would then have her friends close to her ; 
and to the Americans, who would lose one of the reasons 
which draw them towards Russia, in the realisation of their 
wish for the freedom of all the water highways of the world. 
He seemed to take that in." " The Russians,'' added the 
Chancellor, " ought not to have been so modest in their 

no Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap, 

requirements ; if they had asked for more, they would have 
had no difficulty in getting what they want about the Black 

The conversation then turned on the four principles of 
the new law of the ocean : no fitting out of privateers ; no 
seizure of goods except contraband of war ; that a blockade 
is only to be valid when it is effective, and so on. One of 
these had been flagrantly infringed, the Chief said, by the 
French when they burned German vessels ; and he closed 
our discussion of the subject, saying, " Yes, we must see how 
we can get rid of all this nonsense." 

In the evening I extracted more articles for the King 
from the German papers, wondering and complaining about 
the delay of the bombardment. Afterwards L. came in to 
inquire whether I knew anything particular about a certain 
Heldig or Hillwitz. I told him I did not. L. went on to 
say, that he lived upon his means, was a democrat and a 
friend of Classen-Kappelmann's, had recently been here, and 
had had an interview with the Chancellor. On his way home 
he had been thrown into prison, but released, in consequence 
of a telegram from the Chief. He was supposed to be an 
agent for the restoration of Napoleon, whom he wanted to 
see set on the throne again, with a view to the final estab- 
lishment of the republic, as an expedient ad interim which 
might ensure the peace of Germany during the inevitable 
struggle for the mastery among parties in France. If there 
is anything at all in this, the story is partly wrong, and cer- 
tainly incomplete. I refrained, however, from remarks on 
the subject and contented myself with making a note of it. 

Wednesday, December \/^. — A cloudy sky, and mild weather. 
Yesterday and the day before there was little firing from 
the forts and gun-boats, and to-day there was none at all. 
In the morning, by the Chiefs orders, I telegraphed the 

XIV.] A Soldier's Funeral. 1 1 1 

occupation of Blois by our troops and the capitulation of 
Montm^dy. The Centralists in Germany are still expressing 
their dissatisfaction with the convention with Bavaria. T. 
in H. writes me about it almost in a tone of despair : " I 
quite understand that Count Bismarck could make no better 
of it, but it is a sorrowful business all the same. Bavaria 
has once more, as in 1813, through the convention of Ried, 
put a stick between our legs. As long as our leading 
statesman is left to us, we shall be able to get along in spite 
of it. But afterwards ? I cannot feel the same unconditional 
confidence in the new empire as I had in the vital force of 
the North German Confederation. I can only hope that 
in spite of the seeming defects in the constitution of the 
state, the healthy forces of the nation may daily grow." I 
hope so too, though the deficiencies in our constitution do 
not strike me as so dangerous as they do our friend in H. 
For the rest, what is the use of complaining about things 
which it was impossible to arrange differently ? What was 
possible has been done, and our watchword now must be, 
Accept what is to be had ; with industry, patience, and good 
luck, more will come of it in time. 

Before dinner, I again attended the funeral of two soldiers 
who had died in the hospital of the chateau. The procession 
crossed the Boulevard de la Reine and the Rue Adelaide on 
its way to the churchyard. This time the French saluted the 
corpse by lifting their hats. The music played through the 
streets the melody " Wie wohl ist mir, O Freund derSeelen," 
and outside of the big common cemetery, " Wie sie so sanft 

The Chief dined with us, and his guest was Count 
Holnstein. The conversation did not turn upon politics. 
The Minister talked in the kindliest and most good- 
humoured fashion of all sorts of things. He said, for 

112 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

instance, that as a young man he had been a fast runner 
and a capital jumper, whilst his sons had unusual strength 
in the muscles of their arms. He would not like to try 
them in a stand up-wrestle. He then brought out the case 
with the gold pen presented to him by Bissinger, the 
jeweller, to show to his guest, and he told us that the 
countess had written to know the truth about it, thinking it 
might turn out like the story about the clown at Meaux, — a 
story which I now heard for the first time, about the new- 
born child of a French soldier who had recently fallen, 
being deposited one morning on the Chief's bed, and which 
was, of course, an invention of the newspapers. Somebody 
said that the deputation from the Reichstag had got as far 
as Strassburg, and would be here the day after to-morrow. 
The Chancellor remarked, " Then we must think seriously 
what answer we are to give them. Simson will manage 
the thing very well. He has several times before had 
similar things, to do on the first deputation about the Em- 
peror and at the Hohenzollernburg. He likes to speak, 
and on such occasions speaks well and agreeably. Abeken 
remarked that the deputy Lowe had said that he had gone 
through this experience once before, and had the oppor- 
tunity afterwards of reflecting on the matter, far from Madrid. 
" Really, was he there in 1849 ? " asked the Minister. " Yes," 
said Bucher, " he was President of the Reichstag." " So, 
then," said the Chief, " it was not on account of the Em- 
peror's journey that he had to remain away from Madrid, 
but because of the trip to Stuttgart, which was a very different 
affair." At that time, according to him, he was first in the 
Hohenzollernburg, where all the branches of his family had 
separate apartments, then in another old castle in Pome- 
rania where all the Dewitzes had formerly had a right of 
tenancy, but which had now become a picturesque ruin, the 

XIV.] A Country Squire in Pomerania. 113 

people of the next small town having made use of it for a 
quarry, and after that again with the owner of an estate in 
the country who had got his money in a peculiar way. 

" He had always been apparently in difficulty and want, 
at one time up to the neck, the caterpillar having devoured 
his woods, a fire having burnt down a good part of them, 
and a hurricane finally levelling many of his trees to the 
ground. The wood had to be sold, and to his surprise he 
got a large sum for it — fifty or sixty thousand thalers — 
so that he was at once set on his feet again. It had never 
occurred to him that he had his wood to cut down." 

The Chief then told us of another remarkable person, a 
neighbour of his own. " He had ten or twelve properties, 
but never any ready money, and often wanted to dispose 
of something. Whenever he gave a formal breakfast party, 
he used to have to sell one of his properties. At last there 
were only one or two left. His peasants bought one of 
them for fifty-three thousand thalers. They paid him fifteen 
thousand thalers down, and immediately sold off ship's 
timber to the amount of twenty-two thousand. He had 
never happened to think of that." 

He talked next of the dragoon guards in Munich, whose 
bigness and whole style had given him the impression that 
they must be capital judges of beer. Then he talked of 
his son Count Bill, who was the first German to ride into 
Rouen. Some one said he would be a conclusive evidence 
to the inhabitants, that our troops had not so far been badly 
looked after, and the Chancellor again descanted on the 
strength of his " lads.'' They had uncommon strength 
for their age, he said, " though they had had no gymnastic 
training. I had no feeling against it certainly, but there 
had been no opportunity for it away from home." While 


1 14 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

we were smoking our after-dinner cigars, he asked whether 
the gentlemen of the office smoked. " They all do it," 
said Abeken. " Well," he said, " Engel must distribute the 
Hamburg cigars among them. I have had so many sent 
me that I shall still have some left to take home, even 
if the war lasts another twelvemonth." 

After 9 o'clock in the morning I was twice called to the 
Minister. A note was sent for the press stating that Tarbe, 
the editor of the Gaulois, which now appears in Brussels, 
got out of Paris and through the Prussian lines by purchasing 
his passport from a Swiss for 10,000 francs. " Say nothing 
about the other Swiss (who we are informed sold his pass 
through the circle of our outposts to another Parisian for 
6000 francs)," said the Chief. " It might look as if we 
wanted to worry Switzerland, which we have no intention 
of doing." 

Thursday, December 15. — The weather was mild. Hardly 
any firing from the forts. Counts Frankenberg and Lehndorf 
were our guests at the beginning of dinner. Half an hour 
afterwards Prince Pless came in. The Minister was ex- 
tremely chatty and good-humoured. We talked first about 
the question of the day, when the bombardment was to 
begin, and- the Chief said he thought probably in eight or 
ten days from now, but that it would have little effect for a 
few weeks, as the Parisians had had time to make their 
preparations to meet it. Frankenberg said that people in 
Berlin, especially in the Reichstag, spoke of nothing so 
much as of the reasons which had made us put off the 
bombardment of Paris so late as this. Everything else fell 
into the background. " Well," said the Chief, " now that 
Roon has taken the thing in hand something will be done. 
There are a thousand waggons on the way here, adequately 
horsed. Ammunition for transport, and some of the new 

XIV.] The Reichstag and the German Empire. 115 

mortars have already arrived. We may look out for some- 
thing soon now." 

We then began to talk of the way in which the restoration 
of the German Empire had been brought before the Reichs- 
tag, and several of those present said that in their opinion 
it had not been managed as they should have liked. The 
thing had been badly arranged. The Conservatives had 
had no notice of the intended communication, so that it 
reached them just as they were at breakfast, and Windhorst, 
with his usual ability in turning circumstances to account, 
had been quite entitled to remark that he should have 
expected more sympathy from the Assembly. " Yes,'' said 
the Chief, " there ought to have been a more effective mise 

en scene for such a piece Somebody might have 

come forward to express dissatisfaction with the Bavarian 
Convention. It wanted this, and omitted that. Then he 
should have said, that if any counterpoise for these defects 
could be found, anything in which the unity of Germany 
would find adequate expression, it might alter the case, 
and at that point the Emperor might have been brought 
out." " After all, the Emperor has more power than many 
fancy." " I don't for a moment deny that the Bavarian 
Convention has its faults and deficiencies ; that is easily 
said by people who have no responsibility. How would it 
have been if I had refused to meet the Bavarians half-way, 
and nothing had come of the whole affair ? It is impossible 
to realise the difficulties we should have got into, so that 
I was frightfully anxious about the freedom from prejudices 
of the centralistic party among the deputies of the Reichs- 
tag." " This is the first time for many a day that I have 
had a couple of hours' sound and satisfying sleep. I used at 
first to lie awake full of all sorts of thoughts and troubles. 
Then Varzin would suddenly come up before me^ perfectly 

I 2 

Ii6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

distinct in the minutest particulars, like a great picture with 
even all its colours fresh — the green trees, the sunshine on 
the stems, the blue sky above. I saw every individual tree. 
I struggled to shake the thing off, but it came back and 
worried me, and when at last I ceased to see it, other things 
came in — reports, notes, despatches, and so on, till I fell 
over about morning.'' 

The conversation then turning on the fair sex in this 
country, the Chief said — " I have travelled a good deal 
through France, during peace, too, and I don't recollect 
that I ever saw anywhere a single nice-looking country 
girl, but I have seen frightfully ugly creatures often. I 
believe that there are a few, only the pretty ones go off to 
Paris to make their market there.'' Towards the end we 
talked of the enormous destruction the war had entailed 
on France, and the Minister said, " I can imagine that the 
country might become empty and masterless, and that after 
the emigration of the people we might have to let the 
estates out to deserving Pomeranians and Westphalians." 

I was after dinner with H., who leaves to-morrow for the 
outposts of Bougival, where the incidents, at present, are a 
French grenade bursting into the house and hurting a lot 
of people, or a glass of beer at the Hotel de Chasse. His 
cousin is there,, and the doctor in the hospital at the 
chateau. He happened to speak of the visit the Chief 
had recently paid to the wards and said, that in the way 
in which the Chancellor had taken it up, neither the doctor, 
who was involved, nor the other officer complained of, had 
really been to blame, for the men not being properly looked 
after. The sentry who had been talking to our Count 
about the neglect of the sick was a sot, not in any way 
trustworthy. The thing really at fault was the close scrimped 
"form " for the dietaries of the Prussian hospitals. Men could 

XIV.] Uneasiness about the Military Situation. 1 1 7 

neither live, on it, nor die on it. The system would have 
broken down altogether but for the contributions of volun- 
tary benevolence and the presents from friends, and that 
doctor's gruffness and irritability to people who brought 
presents, to French ladies, for instance, had often prevented 
the soldiers getting such things. 

In the evening, at tea, Bucher was at first alone with me, 
then Keudell came in, Avho was a good deal troubled, and 
anxious about Gambetta's gigantic levies, which were esti- 
mated, as he had heard from the general staff, at 1,300,000 
men. He had been told also by Moltke's people, that we 
were to get 80,000 or 90,000 new troops, but he thought we 
ought to have had half a million. What would happen if 
the French with 300,000 men from the south-east were to 
fall on the thin line of our communications with Germany ? 
We might then easily be compelled even to give up Paris. 
Certainly this is too melancholy a view of the situation. 

ii8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



Friday, December i6. — Weather mild and sky clouded. In 
the morning I wrote several articles on Chaudordy's circu- 
lar despatch about the barbarous way in which we are repre- 
sented to be carrying on the war. My line was as follows : 
" To the slanders which the French press has been cir- 
culating for months in order to excite public opinion against 
us, we have now to add an official document emanating 
from the Provisional Government of France, the object of 
which is to induce foreign courts and cabinets to take part 
■ against us by exaggerated and distorted statements of our 
proceedings in this war. An official of the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs, M. de Chaudordy, has taken occasion to 
complain of us in a circular letter to the neutral powers. 
Let us look at the main points of his indictment, let us then 
state the real facts of the cases he describes, and leave the 
world to judge whether the French or we are more open to 
the reproach of barbarism. 

" He asserts that our requisitions are immoderate and that 
we demand from the towns and communes which have fallen 
into our hands exorbitant contributions. We are said even 
to have laid hold of the private property of individuals. We 
are accused of savagely wrecking and burning down towns 
and villages where the inhabitants have fought against us 
or even been helpful in the slightest way to the French 

XV.] WAat the French say of the Germans. 119 

who are defending their country. Our accuser says, ' To 
punish a town for the offence of a single inhabitant whose 
sole crime was that he rose against the foreign invader, 
superior officers have ordered it to be set on fire and plun- 
dered, thus shamefully abusing the unquestioning discipline 
exacted from their soldiers. Every house where a Franc- 
tireur had hidden or had a meal has been burnt down. 
^Vhat becomes of private property ? ' The circular goes on 
to say that in bombarding open towns we have introduced a 
practice which has no precedent in history. Finally, among 
other outrages of which we have been guilty, we have taken 
hostages with us in the railway trains to secure ourselves 
against the rails being lifted and other damage and injury 
done to the lines. 

" We answer these charges thus : If M. de Chaudordy had 
known anything of war, instead of complaining of the sacri- 
fices our operations require from the French population, he 
would have been astonished at our comparative reasonable- 
ness. The German troops respect private property every- 
where, but it is not to be wondered at if, after forced 
marches or hard fights where they have been exposed to 
cold and hunger, they insist on getting lodged as comfortably 
as possible and on requiring of the inhabitants whatever is 
of immediate necessity — food, drink, and firing, for instance 
— or if they take them, in cases where the inhabitants have 
fled. There is evidence, that so far from attacking private 
property, as M. de Chaudordy says they do, they have often 
done the very opposite, and have, at the risk of their own 
lives, rescued for the owners objects of special or artistic 
value, exposed to injury from the French guns. We are 
charged with having burned down villages. Has our ac- 
cuser never heard of the reason : of the Francs-tireurs, 
assassin-like, firing at our men in them, of the inhabitants 

I20 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

helping these murderers and rendering them every possible 
assistance ? Has he not heard how the Francs-tireurs, who 
went recently from Fontaines to Lyons, declared loudly and 
openly that the object of their march was to pay visits to 
those houses in the district, the plundering of which was 
worth their while? Can he give a single authenticated 
instance of horrors committed by our soldiers like those 
practised on them by the Turcos and the free companions of 
the French ? Have they cut off the ears and noses of their 
enemies, either dead or alive, as the French did to the 
German soldiers at Coulours on the 30th of November? 
Eight hundred German prisoners should have been brought 
into Lille on the nth of December. There were only two 
hundred. Many of them were severely wounded, but 
instead of offering them assistance the people pelted them 
with snowballs, and cried to the soldiers to run their 
bayonets into them. The number of times the French 
have fired on flags of truce is unprecedented, and the fol- 
lowing incident, though all but incredible, is perfectly 
authenticated. On the 2nd of December Under-Sergeant- 
major Steinmetz von Villers wrote a letter to his lieutenant 
in Mirecourt by the express request of an officer of the 
Garibaldians, notifying that if our troops allowed reprisals 
against Vettel or any place in the neighbourhood, he would 
cut off the ears of fourteen Prussians who had fallen into 
the hands of the free companions. 

" We have often refused to treat free companions as sol- 
diers, but only when, by following the principles recommended 
to the country people of the department of Cote d'Or by the 
Prefect Luce Villiard on the 21st November, they failed to 
conduct themselves as such. He told them, ' The country 
does not ask you to embody yourselves in companies and 
march against the enemy. It expects you, every morning, 

XV.] The Mode of War of the Francs-tiretirs. I2i 

to pick out three or four men to go to any place which the 
character of the ground renders suitable and fire at the 
Prussians wherever they can do so without danger. Above 
all things, fire at the enemy's cavalry, and give their horses 
up at the chief place of the arrondissement. I shall pay 
you a reward (the wages of assassination) and shall publish 
your heroic conduct in all the newspapers of the department 
and in th.e Journal officieL' 

" We have bombarded open towns, such as Orleans, but 
is M. de Chaudordy not aware that at the time they were 
in the occupation of the enemy? Has he forgotten that 
the French bombarded the open towns of Saarbriickeu and 
Kehl ? Finally, about the hostages, who are taken with our 
railway trains, they accompany us, not to interfere with 
the heroic deeds of the French, but to prevent malignant 
crimes. The railways carry other things besides soldiers, 
ammunition, and war materials. They are not a mere 
means of war, assailable, like others, by armed violence. 
Crowds of wounded, doctors, nurses for the sick, and other 
altogether peaceable persons, are conveyed on them. Is any 
peasant or free companion to be allowed to tear up the rails 
or lay stones across, so as at one blow to endanger tlie 
lives of hundreds of these people ? Let the French see to 
the safety of their trains, and their hostages will only be 
taken little pleasure excursions, or, if they prefer it, we shall 
make Germans accompany them to re-establish order along 
the lines. We need say no more in answer to M. de 
Chaudordy's complaints. The European cabinets know the 
humane spirit in which we carry on war, and people here 
will have little difficulty in rating the assertions of our 
French accuser at their real worth. 

" After all, war is war. Silk gloves are not in place, and 
perhaps the iron gloves with which' we have had to handle 

122 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

them would have been worn less frequently had the Govern- 
ment of National Defence not passionately proclaimed a 
people's war, which inevitably leads to greater cruelties than 
one between regular armies." 

In the afternoon I again visited the magnificent bronze 
deities behind the chateau, and the moss-grown marble statues 
on the main road through the park. Besides Bohlen, who 
was still sick, we missed at dinner Hatzfeld, who had turned 
unwell, and Keudell, who had been commanded to dine with 
the King. This time Count Holnstein and Prince Putbus 
were our invited guests. The conversation turned first on 
the Bavarian Convention, and Holnstein expected that it 
would be approved by the second Chamber, in which a two- 
thirds majority is necessary, as it is already known that only 
about forty votes are to be recorded against it. It is also as 
good as certain that it will not be rejected by the Chamber 
of the Royal Councillors. The Chief said, " Thiinger will 
surely be for it." Holnstein said, " I believe so, for he 
voted for our taking part in the war." " Yes, said the 
Minister, " he is one of the honourable Particularists, but 
there are others who have different ends in view." Holnstein 
said, " Certainly some of the patriots have shown clearly 
enough t hat they leave out the " For God and Fatherland," 
and hold only by the " With the help of God." 

Putbus then turned the conversation to the approaching 
festival, and said that it was nice that the men in the 
hospitals were also to have their Christmas trees. A collec- 
tion had been made for that object, and 2500 francs had 
been gathered. " Pless and I signed," he went on to say. 
" Then it was taken to the Grand Duke of Weimar, who 
subscribed 300 francs, and the Grand Duke of Coburg 200." 
" Of course he would have to subscribe neither more than 
Weimar nor less than Pless.'' Putbus said they proposed to 

XV.] A New French Loan. 123 

lay the list before his Majesty, and the Chief asked, " Won't 
you allow me to have a share in it ? " 

It was then mentioned that a French air-balloon had 
come down at Wetzlar, and that Ducrot was said to be in 
it. " Well, he will be shot at last," said Putbus. " No," 
said the Chief, " if he comes before a council of war, it will 
not shoot him, but a council of honour, the officers tell 
me, would condemn him quickly enough." 

" Is there anything else new in military matters ? " said 
Putbus. The Minister said, " The general staff may know 
something, but we don't. For our much asking, we get the 
crumbs they let fall to us, and they are not many." Some- 
body then said he had heard that another great sortie of the 
Parisians was expected to-morrow : and one of those at 
table added, that there was a report that a dragoon had been 
shot on the road to Meudon, and an officer in the wood 
between this and Ville d'Avray. (Hence the notice yester- 
day ordering that no civilian is to be allowed in the woods 
near the town between three in the afternoon and nine next 
morning, and commanding sentries and patrols to fire on 
any non-military man who shows himself there during 
these hours.) " They appear to have air-guns,'' the Chief 
conjectured. " Probably they are the old poachers of the 

Finally we spoke of the report that the Government of the 
National Defence was proposing to issue a loan, and the 
Minister turned to me and said, " It might be worth while 
to point out in the papers the risk people run who lend 
their money to this Government. It may turn out that its 
loans may not be taken up by the Government with which 
we conclude peace, and we may make it one of the con- 
ditions. You might get that specially into the English and 
the Belgian papers." 

124 Bismarck in the Franco- German War. [Chap. 

After we left table, Abeken told me that Count Holn- 
stein had asked who I was (probably because I am now 
the only person at the Chancellor's table in civihan cos- 
tume) ; was I, perhaps, the Minister's personal medical 
attendant, as people called me Doctor? In the evening 
L. told us that a Conservative of high position, who some- 
times favoured him with communications, had told him 
that, in his circles, people were anxious to see what the 
King would say in reply to the deputation from the Reichs- 
tag. He was supposed not to like their visit, for it was 
only the first German Reichstag, and not the North German 
Reichstag which would be entitled to offer him the Em- 
peror's crown. (The King thinks much less about the 
Reichstag, which does not propose to offer him the crown 
on its own account, but to come, along with the princes, 
asking him to accept it, than of the princes, some of whom 
have not yet sent their answer to the proposition of the King 
of Bavaria.) For his own part, L.'s high-placed Conser- 
vative would rather have seen the King made Emperor of 
Prussia (which is a matter of taste), in which case Prussia 
would merge in Germany, and about that he confesses he has 
his scruples. L. told us also that the Crown Prince was 
indignant at certain correspondents in the German papers, 
who had compared Chateaudun to Pompeii, and had other- 
wise drawn hvely pictures of the desolation of the country 
by the war. I suggested to L. to work on the subjects : 
"A new French Loan" and "Chaudordy and Garibaldi's 
ear-slitters " for a Belgian paper, to which he has access, 
and he promised to do so to-morrow. 

After he left I wrote an article on the former subject for 
a German paper, which went into our letter-box, and ran 
much as follows : 

" The reckless ' devil-may-cares,' who are now attempting 

XV.] The Loan may be repudiated. 125 

to guide the destinies of France from Paris and Tours, want 
to coax another loan for themselves out of the pockets of 
foreigners. This measure has for some time been unavoid- 
able, and there is no reason to be surprised at it. But we 
may point out to the financial world that, besides the 
advantages which will be offered them, there is a very in- 
telligible risk, which we need only mention to show how 
serious it is. The Government which raises the loan has 
neither been accepted by France nor recognised by any 
state in Europe. It will be remembered too that the 
Germans notified that they would take care that certain 
loans which it was tried to raise from the French Com- 
munes for war purposes, should never be paid. That de- 
claration may serve as a hint that the principle may receive 
a wider application. Possibly, indeed probably, the French 
Government will have to conclude a peace with Prussia and 
•her allies — but to all appearance it will not be the existing 
Government — and that Government of the near future may 
not unlikely be required, as one of the conditions of peace, 
to decline to be responsible for the responsibilities under- 
taken by Messrs. Gambetta and Favre, either by paying 
principal or interest. It would certainly be entitled to do 
so, as these gentlemen are going to borrow in the name of 
France indeed, but without being commissioned or charged 
by her. Forewarned is forearmed." 

After tea Wollmann came in, and told us that the deputa- 
tion from the Reichstag had arrived, and that Simson, their 
speaker, was already below with the Chief, who would 
clearly explain to him the King's disinclination to receive 
them before the arrival of letters from all the princes agree- 
ing to what is proposed. These letters have to be sent first 
to the King of Bavaria, and he forwards them to our King. 
All the princes are believed to have already answered in the 

126 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

affirmative by telegram — only Lippe seems not yet to have 
quite got to the bottom of his meditations. To account for 
this delay, probably a couple of the members of the depu- 
tation will have to be taken ill. W. tells us also that the 
last telegram, notifying the passage of the Convention with 
Bavaria through the Reichstag, contained the words : " Even 
the district magistrates were powerless to obstruct the 
march of universal history." 

Saturday, December 17.- — ^A yellowish-red as we looked 
out at our windows on rising in the morning, and beautiful 
weather outside. About nine, while I was taking a walk with 
Abeken through the pleasure-grounds of the park, a thick 
fog gathered suddenly, spreading itself over a small am- 
phibious world. At present it is half winter, half summer. 
The ground is covered with snow ; but the trees in the 
park, with their branches intertwined with ivy, one side 
of the enclosure wall also overgrown with it, and the plain 
round the little waterfall, where the tender fohage of young 
ferns is coming out — are all quite green. Violets are blow- 
ing under the fallen leaves on the beds with their box 
borders, and we gathered a charming bouquet for Abeken's 
wife. It was not till about twelve that the fog dispersed. 

In the course of the morning I wrote a second article on 
the new French loan. During breakfast we were informed 
that Vendome had been occupied by our troops. The 
secretaries told us that when he is dictating, the Chief's 
custom is to walk up and down the room, every now and 
then giving a knock on a table, a chair, or a commode, some- 
times with the tassel of his dressing-gown^ which he keeps 
swinging about. He seems not to have had a good night 
last night, for about half-past eleven he had not breakfasted, 
and an hour afterwards he was still not to be spoken with. 
There is to be a great council to-day of the military autho- 

XV.] French Officers who break their Parole. 127 

rities at the King's — perhaps about the bombardment ? In 
the afternoon I read a paragraph giving increasingly nume- 
rous instances of French officers who have broken their 
parole, and run off from the places where they were " in- 
terned " to take service against us afresh. There are already 
more than fifty of them, among whom are officers of all 
grades, including Generals Ducrot, Cambriels, and Barral. 
After the battle of Sedan, it was in our power, by annihilating 
it, to have rendered the French army shut up there harmless. 
Humanity, and our faith in promises, induced us to refrain. 
The capitulation was concluded, and we were entitled to 
suppose that all the officers had accepted it, and were pre- 
pared to live according to the conditions imposed upon them. 
Wherever this was not the case, we were entitled to be warned 
of the fact. AVe should then have dealt with these exceptions 
as exceptions, and not have given such officers the privileges 
which we gave the others : in other words, we should not have 
allowed them that freedom of movement of which they now 
take such shameful advantage. Certainly the majority of the 
captive officers have been true to the word they gave, so 
that we might pass the matter over with a mere shrug of 
the shoulders. The thing looks differently the moment 
the Provisional Government of France condones the breach 
of an officer's word by restoring him to his position in a regi- 
ment in active service against us. Has anyone ever heard 
of a case in which such a deserter has been refused restora- 
tion to his former place in the French army ? Or of 
one where French officers have made any remonstrance 
against the readmission to their ranks of comrades who 
have broken their words in this way ? It is not merely the 
Government, therefore, but the entire body of French officers, 
which -considers such dishonourable conduct perfectly en 
regie. The German Governments are consequently com- 

128 Bismarck in the Franco-German War, [Chap. 

pelled to ask themselves whether the amehorations of their 
captivity hitherto granted to French officers are in harmony 
with the interests of Germany. We must ask ourselves this 
further question : whether we are justified in trusting the 
engagements by which the present French Government binds 
itself, in dealing with Germany, without material securities 
or pledges in pawn for their full performance. 

Herr von Amim-Kr5chlenburg, the brother-in-law of the 
Minister, was at dinner, a gentleman with an energetic ex- 
pression of countenance and a full reddish beard, apparently 
going into fifty. The Chief was in excellent humour, but 
the conversation this time had no special significance. It 
turned chiefly on the bombardment and the position which 
a certain party at head-quarters had taken up with respect 
to it. The Chief suddenly asked Bucher, " Have you a 
pencil and paper beside you ?" " Yes." — " Then telegraph " 
(I suppose to Delbriick) : " The King will receive the 
deputation from the Reichstag about two o'clock to-morrow 
afternoon. Details to follow.' " (Probably he means to 
signify to them that he is prepared to assume the dignity of 
Emperor, as they wish him to do, but that he considers that 
he owes it in the first instance to the requisition from the King 
of Bavaria and the agreement of the other German princes 
with him, and that that agreement has not yet been formally 
expressed by everybody.) Arnim said he could eat no more, 
as he had already had too much sausage, and the Chief 
smiled and said, " Where did they come from ? I hope not 
from Paris, for in that case they might perhaps contain 
rat." We learn, in fact, that they are now very short of fresh 
meat there ; and it is said that in some parts of the city a 
regular rat-market has been established, which is abundantly 
supplied with good stock from the sewers. 

L. came in after eight o'clock, as usual, to exchange news. 

XV.] Brown, Jones ^ and Robinson. 129 

He told us that there was considerable excitement at present 
among the English in Versailles. Several sons of Britain, 
who are acting here as newspaper correspondents, and among 
them a Captain Hosier, had had the misfortune, on a journey 
from this to Orleans, to be arrested as spies and kept 
prisoners in an inn, by German soldiers who did not under- 
stand their English. They made an exception in favour of 
Hosier only, who spoke some German. In spite of their 
correct papers all the rest were kept in charge, put into a 
conveyance and brought to Versailles. The Crown Prince 
was very angry at the behaviour of the soldiers, and the 
London papers would storm frightfully, and try to turn the 
affair into a national insult. L. seemed a little warm over 
it. I thought to myself, that he who thrusts himself into 
danger must abide the consequences, and that the man who 
goes a journey is likely to have something to tell. Bucher, 
too, when I told him the story, seemed to think it rather 
enjoyable than serious, and said that it was a continuation 
of the well-known comic narrative of Brown, Jones, and 
Robinson, who undertook their famous journey to foreign 
parts without knowing any language but that of the London 
Cockney, and who had fallen into all sorts of trouble. 

Afterwards Bucher told us that the Chief was a great lover 
of nature and of picturesque places. He had several times 
rambled through the country near Varzin with him, and 
about the close of the walk he often said, " You are 
wearying for your dinner no doubt, but there is that one hill 
for us to climb yet, to get the view from the top." 

In the evening after ten there were repeated discharges 
from the forts. 

Sunday, December 18. — The weather is cloudy, but with- 
out fog. In the morning a few shots were again to be 
heard from the big guns. In the forenoon I wrote several 


130 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

letters for Germany. About two the Chief went out to the 
prefecture for the presentation of the people from the Reichs- 
tag. In the interval before his probable return, I took a 
walk through the Park with Wollmann, ending by way of 
the Avenue de Paris, where the ceremony at the prefecture 
seems to have been got through very simply. The Princes 
present here went, I believe, to the King, as did also the 
delegates of the Reichstag. After two o'clock the King 
came into the audience-room, accompanied by the Crown 
Prince and Princes Karl and Adalbert. The Grand Dukes 
of Baden, Oldenburg, and Weimar, the Duke of Coburg and 
Meiningen, the three actual Hereditary Grand Dukes of 
Mecklenburg, Weimar, and Oldenburg, Prince William of 
Wiirtemberg, and a number of other princely personages 
were present, and the rest of the audience was grouped round 
the Chancellor of the Confederation. Nobody was, it seems, 
in full uniform. Simson made the address to the King, who 
answered pretty much as had been expected. About five 
o'clock, a dinner of eighty covers closed the ceremonies. 

This afternoon I dined with Dr. Good,* and met there 
another Kentuckian, Mr. Bowland, MacLean, and the Eng- 
lish newspaper correspondent Conningsby. The Americans 
were charming people. They were much astonished at the 
accuracy with which I described to them Falmouth, Bow- 
land's birthplace, and the way to it from Cincinnati. They 
wanted to know my opinion about the United States, and 
especially what I thought about the great Civil War, in 
^hich Good had been a long time engaged. My answer, 

* An unusually agreeable young doctor from Louisville, Kentucky, 
who, being a complete master of German, had devoted himself to the 
care of the sick at headquarters, and whose acquaintance I had made 
through MacLean. Some time afterwards he was himself the victim of 
a long and fatal illness, caused by the fatigues he had undergone during 
the American Secession War. 

XV.] TJie Britis]i, Lion and Civis Romanus. 131 

in which I did justice also to the Secessionists, seemed to 
please them greatly. Then Conningsby brought up the 
incident with Hosier and his friends, and wished to know 
what I thought about it. I told him that the gentlemen had 
added a fresh chapter to the adventures of Brown, Jones, and 
Robinson. It could not reasonably be expected that our 
soldiers and subaltern officers should understand English, 
and the thing appeared to me to be founded on a misunder- 
standing. He replied that Hosier had certainly spoken 
German, and that the papers which all the four gentlemen 
had on their persons were written in German and signed by 
Roon and Blumenthal. " In that case," I said, " it is in all 
likelihood an instance of military over-conscientiousness ; 
too much zeal and precaution.'' Mr. Conningsby replied that 
he could not see it in that light ; he thought that the soldiers 
had ill used the correspondents, because they were inoculated 
with the bitter feeling in Germany about the English supply 
of arms. We should see, however, what would come of it. 
I did not want to say that what he called embittered 
feeling was probably more like distrust, or that I thought 
it quite intelligible. So I merely said, " Most likely it will 
make a great noise, an angry effervescence in the news- 
papers, and nothing more." I added that I could not 
imagine that more could come of it. He replied that I 
should not be too sure of that, and talked about the British 
lion and civis Romanus. I answered that if the lion roared, 
we should say, " Well roared, lion ;" " Roar again, lion." As 
for the civis, times had a little altered since he used to be 
the fashion. " People have their own thoughts about these 
matters," I said. He replied that we were quite intoxicated 
with our success, and that if the British Lion were not 
satisfied he could fight as well as roar. The least that could 
be asked would be the cashiering of the officer in command 

K 2 

132 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

when his countrymen had been arrested. I begged him not 
to get excited, to look at the matter in cold blood. It could 
not in any circumstances be serious. We should certainly 
hot throw our people over at once as a sop to the Lion, 
however that animal might rage. If injustice had been 
really done to the correspondents, a point which an inquiry 
would settle, they would undoubtedly get satisfaction. As 
for our intoxication with our success, I must point out to 
him that throughout this war we had as a nation shown 
ourselves most modest, very free from conceit or vain- 
gloriousness, especially when contrasted with the unmeasured 
lying and boasting of the French. I ended by saying that 
I repeated that I considered the whole affair a trifle, that it 
was impossible that England should quar;:el with us, or, as he 
seemed to expect, declare war against us, about trifles. But I 
continued to believe that the matter would make a great 
noise in the newspapers, and that nothing serious would 
come of it. In the end he calmed down, and confessed 
that he had himself been arrested during the engagement 
near Bougival and Malmaison, and harshly used by the 
Prussians, but even more harshly by his own countryman. 
Colonel Walker, to whom he had appealed. Walker is the 
English military plenipotentiary at headquarters. He had 
received him gruffly, and told him in plain words that he 
had no business in battlefields. He then described Walker 
to us as a man of no ability. I suppressed the remark I 
thought of making, that in that instance Colonel Walker 
seemed to have shown himself a man of better judgment 
than some other folks. The discussion at last dropped away 
peaceably enough. Throughout, the American sided with me 
and the Germans. 

I told the Chief about the Hosier affair in the evening 
about eleven. He had heard nothing whatever about it 

XV.] The Germans and Cold Steel. 133 

would not at first quite believe it, and to the last was unable 
to take anything but a humorous view of the affair. He 
then told me to despatch a telegram about a fresh victory, 
of trifling importance over Chanzy's army, and a notice of 
the King's reception of the deputation from the Reichstag. 

Monday, December 19. — ^In the morning Abeken and I 
again gathered violets in the garden, and found three 
bunches, which I sent home. Afterwards I answered the 
article on cold steel in the Kolnische Zeitung, in which the 
French doctors are said to infer, from the circumstance 
that they have seen very few Frenchmen wounded with 
bayonet and sabre, that the Germans do not like hand-to- 
hand fighting. I made the remark, that if these gentle- 
men really judge from their own experience, their opinion 
must be due to the fact that, in the first place, they never 
had the opportunity of seeing the bodies of those who fell at 
Spicheren, Gravelotte, and Le Bourget, pierced by German 
bayonets or felled by German muskets ; and that, in the 
second place, the French usually do not wait for the bayonet, 
but take to flight before we can come up to them with cold 
steel. Afterwards I again spoke of the international revolu- 
tion which has brought so many free companions and heroes 
of the barricades to fight against us. My line of argument 
was something like this : At first we imagined we had only 
France against us, which was the case up to Sedan. After 
the 4th of September, however, another power appeared to 
oppose us, — the Universal Republic, the International Union 
of fanatics, without a native country, in the interests of the 
United States of Europe — the Cosmopolitan Revolution. 
To the devotees of this idea from every point of the 
compass the standard of France is a centre and a gathering- 
point. They troop together to fight us, who are supposed 
to be soldiers of the monarchy, Poles, Irishmen, Spaniards, 

134 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Italians. Even a few casuals from Turkey have joined them- 
selves, like brothers, to the French Republicans. Everybody 
who wants the universal conflagration, in which the old 
states are to be destroyed, and the Cosmopolitan Demo- 
cracy, and all the Red Republicans who appear in congresses 
at Basle and Geneva, look upon the France of the present 
day as the hearth on which the great Revolutionary fire is to 
be lighted. Mazzini, the forerunner of the Christ in the 
Red Republican Evangel, looks for the beginning of the 
bankruptcy of existing states and of society, not from his 
native country, Italy, but from France, to which we owe 
the Revolutions of 1789, 1830, and 1848. The power of 
expansion which she has shown in these Revolutions gives 
her a right to begin the "final war" demanded and pro- 
claimed by the Peace Congress. The German Democrats 
of all shades bow down before the Parisian spirit, recognise 
in France their mother Republic, and consider the German 
armies, with their loyalty to duty and their love of country, 
as hordes of barbarians, from the hour when the Republic 
was proclaimed in France. 

We believe that France is not to be envied the tribute 
paid her by these professional revokitionists. Nobody 
considers her fortunate because these desperate men have 
selected her soil as the battlefield on which they seek to 
realise their dreams. The great majority of the French 
people themselves have no wish for a triumph, which would 
mean the annihilation of their nationality, the destruction 
of their political and social arrangements, the abolition of 
church and faith, the Revolution eti permanence, and universal 
anarchy, which usually ends in despotism. 

" God preserve us," says the New York Tribune — the 
Republican convictions of which are above suspicion — " God 
preserve us from wishing to see such a Republic estabKshed 

XV.] The Jews and Landscape. 135 

in unfortunate France, or anywhere in Europe ! " I shall 
deal with the matter in this spirit in the Moniteur. 

After two o'clock I made an excursion through the park, 
meeting the Chief twice, with Simson beside him in his 
carriage. The Minister was invited to dine with the Crown 
Prince at seven, but half an hour or so before, he ate a little 
with us. He told us about his drive with Simson. " The 
last time he was here was in 1830, after the July revolution. 
I thought he would have taken an interest in the park and 
the beautiful views there, but he seemed to do nothing 
of the sort. Apparently the feeling for landscape is com- 
pletely wanting in him. There are many people in whom 
it is so. As far as I know there are no Jewish land- 
scape painters, and, indeed, hardly any Jewish painters of 
any kind." Somebody mentioned Meierheim and Bende- 
mann. " Meierheim," he said, "yes; but Bendemann had 
only Jewish grand-parents. There are plenty of Jewish 
composers — Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Haldvy ; but for 
painters, a Jew paints indeed, but only when he does not 
need to do it." 

Abeken then told us about Rogge's sermon yesterday in 
the church of the chateau, and said he had talked too 
much about the deputation here from the Reichstag. The 
Chief replied, " I am not at all of that mind, certainly not. 
These people have once more voted us a hundred million 
thalers (fifteen million pounds), and they have approved 
the Versailles Conventions in spite of their own doctrinaire 
views, and much to the disgust of many people. We 
ought to recognise all, that. No; I cannot entertain such 
an opinion of them. I am only cross with Delbriick, who 
disturbed my mind greatly by saying that they were not 
likely to agree to the Conventions." 

The privy councillor talked of the incidents at Ems, shortly 

136 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

before the war broke out, and told us that after a certain 
despatch the King had said : " Well, even he (Bismarck) 
will be pleased with us." " And I believe," added Abeken, 
" that you were." From the Chancellor's reply, it must 
have been a "partial satisfaction." "I remember,'' he 
said, " how I received the news in Varzin. I had gone 
out, and I found the first telegram waiting for me when I 
came home. I went off at once, driving by our pastor's 
house at Wussau. He stood right before his door, and 
saluted me. I said nothing to him, but merely made this 
cut (marking the crossing of swords in the air). He 
understood me, and I went on.'' Then he told us how 
the thing changed back and forward up to the point when 
the declaration of war came. The Minister then said that 
he had meant at first to go to church yesterday, " but I was 
anxious,'' he said, " not to catch cold in the procession. 
I caught a most frightful headache once before in it ; and, 
besides, I was very much afraid that Rogge would say too 

Afterwards, in what connection I do not remember, he 
began to speak of the " nut war,'' which was the result of 
the battle of Tannenberg, in which the combatants are said 
to have lost themselves in a large wood, which at that time 
stretched from Biitow far into Poland, and consisted entirely 
of walnut thickets and of oaks. In connection with something 
else, though I do not remember this connection either, he 
mentioned the battle of Fehrbellin, which brought him to 
talk of old people who had outlived so-and-so. " We had 
an old cowherd called Brand at home, who may very likely 
have spoken to people who were at the battle of Fehrbellin. 
Brand was one of those ancient pieces of furniture with 
which the recollections of my youth are inseparably bound 
up. When I think of him I seem to be smelling heather 

XV.] Recollections of Youth. 137 

and meadow flowers. Yes, it is possible; he was 91 or 
93 years old, and died in 1820 or 182 1. He had seen 
King Frederick William the First in Coslin, where he had 
served with his father as a post-boy. If, then, he was born 
about 1730, it is quite possible that he may have known 
people who fought in Fehrbellin, for that is only fifty or 
sixty years farther back." 

Abeken had also his remarkable recollections of youth. 
He had seen the poet Gockingk, who died in the course of 
the last twenty years, from which we made out that the old 
man was born in 1809. The Chief then said that he might 
himself possibly have seen pig-tails when he was a child. 
Turning to Abeken, he continued : " It is more likely that 
you did, as you are five or six years older than I am." 
Then he returned to Pomerania, and, if I do not mistake, 
to Varzin, where a French Piedmontese had settled down 
after the last French war. The man interested him, as 
he had worked himself up to a respectable position, and 
although originally a Catholic, had become one of the 
churchwardens. As another instance of people settling 
and becoming prosperous in some chance locality, he men- 
tioned other Italians, who during the war of 18 13, had got 
into this back region of Pomerania, remained there, and 
founded famiUes, distinguishable from those of their neigh- 
bours only through the cast of their features. 

Finally, we spoke of Miihler, a friend of Abeken's, whom 
he had that day, contrary to Keudell's opinion, declared to 
be quite unreplaceable. From the influence of that minister's 
wife upon his decisions, and his whole political attitude, the 
conversation turned on the influence which energetic wives 
usually exercise over their husbands. " Yes,'' said the Chief, 
" in such cases one usually cannot tell to whom the merit or 
demerit of a thing is to be attributed — quid ipse fecit et quid 

138 Bismarfk in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

mulier fecit" (" which is his part and which his wife's") ; a 
remark which he illustrated by many examples which cannot 
be given here. It was after ten o'clock before the Minister 
came back from the Crown Prince, and he then went out 
to take the Crown Prince's Marshal of the Palace, who 
returned with him ten minutes later, for a short walk in 
the garden. Afterwards, when I was having tea in my own 
room, Engel whispered me up the staircase, " Do you know, 
doctor, that the Crown Prince is to dine with us to-morrow 
evening ?" 

Tuesday, December 20. — Mild, broken weather. I telegraph 
again several small military successes, aind I prepare for the 
King the paper in which the National Zeitimg has expressed 
its opinion of Moltke's letter to Trochu, in its leading article 
of the 15th of December. Afterwards I write, on the Chiefs 
instructions, two articles, to be manifolded : one on a mis- 
understanding, or perversion, of the King's proclamation 
after he entered French territory, and the other upon Trochu's 
relations with the remaining members of the Provisional 

The first said something of this kind : " We have had 
occasion several times to expose a misunderstanding, or 
intentional falsification, of the words which King William 
addressed to the French people in his proclamation of the 
I ith of August. It appears once more, and this time, to our 
astonishment, it comes from a usually estimable French 
historical student. M. d'Haussonville has made an assertion 
in his pamphlet, ' La France et la Prusse devant I'Europe,' 
not very creditable to his love of truth, or perhaps to his 
scientific thoroughness. The entire pamphlet is shallow 
and superficial, full of exaggerations, errors, and assertions 
founded upon nothing better than groundless reports. 
Among other gross mistakes of the author — who is obviously 

XV.] The King's First Proclamation. 1 39 

blinded by patriotic passion — let us content ourselves with 
mentioning 'one. According to him, King William was on 
the throne during the Crimean war. But this by the way. 

" We have to deal here only with the falsifying of the pro- 
clamation addressed to the French in August, and printed 
usually both in German and French, to prevent any mis- 
understanding. According to M. d'Haussonville, the King 
said in it, ' I make war with the Emperor, not at all with 
France ' (' Je ne fais la guerre qu'k I'Empereur et pas k la 
France '). In reality, what was said in the proclamation 
was this : ' The Emperor Napoleon has attacked the German 
nation, which wished, and still wishes, to live in peace with 
the French people both by sea and land. I have taken 
the command of the German armies to repel this attack. 
Military reasons have induced me to enter French territory 
to make war on French soldiers, but not on French citizens.' 
(' L'Empereur Napoleon ayar^t attaqud par terre et par mer la 
nation allemande, qui de'sirait et desire encore vivre en paix 
avec le peuple fran5ais, j'ai pris le commandement des arme'es 
allemandes pour repousser Fagression, et j'ai €t& amend par 
les evenements militaires k passer les frontiferes de France. 
Je fais la guerre aux soldats et non aux citoyens frangais.') 
In order to make any misunderstanding impossible it went on 
to say : ' These ' (viz., the French citizens) 'will accordingly 
continue to enjoy full security in their persons and property, 
so long, at least, as their hostile action against the German 
troops does not deprive me of the right to extend my protection 
to them' (' Ceux-ci continueront, par consequent, k jouir 
d'une complete sdcurite pour leurs personnes et leurs biens, 
aussi longtemps qu'ils ne me priveront eux-memes, par des 
entreprises hostiles contre les troupes allemandes, du droit 
de leur accorder ma protection.') The contrast between 
d'Haussonville's quotation and the original of the pro- 

140 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

clamation is manifest, and certainly no ambiguity is to be 
discovered in it which could excuse the mistake." 

The other article ran in this way : " The delegation of the 
Government of the National Defence, at present in Bordeaux, 
has convinced itself of the uselessness of further resistance 
to the German arms, and would be ■ndlling, according to the 
view of M. Gambetta, to conclude peace with Germany upon 
the principles required by the latter. General Trochu, on the 
other hand, is said to have decided to continue the war. In 
reality, the delegation at Tours, which is now in Bordeaux, 
pledged itself to General Trochu from the beginning, not 
to treat for peace without his consent. According to other 
accounts. General Trochu is supposed to have accumu- 
lated provisions for several months on ]Mont Valerien, so 
as to go there with whatever troops he can gather after the 
capitulation of Paris has become a necessity, in order to in- 
fluence the destiny of France after the conclusion of peace. 
The object of this proceeding is believed to be to safeguard 
the interests of the Orleans family, one of whose adherents 
General Trochu is said to be.'' 

Whilst I was preparing this article in the Bureau, Keudell 
told me that the Chief had decided that all State documents 
as they came in and went out were from this time forward 
to be open to my inspection on my request. He gave me 
a telegram to read from the Minister himself, referring to 
Luxemburg, and afterwards he sent me, through Wollmann, 
the authority required for my better information. 

After three o'clock the Minister went to the King, and I 
took a walk with Wollmann through the town, and afterwards 
through the Avenue de Saint-Cloud. On the main road, a 
peculiar dark blue mass appeared in the distance coming 
to meet us. They looked like soldiers, and yet not like 
soldiers. They marched in close column and in regular 

XV.] The German Marines, 141 

step. There were muskets without bayonets ; there were 
neither caps nor hehnets ; and there was no white leather. 
It was only when the procession came nearer that I recog- 
nised the black glazed hats of the sailors of our Marine, 
their black belts and main braces, their shiny knapsacks, 
their pea-jackets, and their cutlasses. There were some 
hundreds of them, with five or six officers, from whom, when 
the troop halted, we learned that they were the crews of four 
of the Loire steamers which have been captured by Prince 
Frederick Charles's troops. It appears that they are quar- 
tered in the Rue de la Pompe, and in the Rue Hoche. 
There were many strapping and good-looking fellows amongst 
them. Numbers of French gathered round to watch these 
mysterious foreigners, the like of whom they had never seen. 
" They are German sailors," I heard somebody say ; " they 
can speak many languages (ce sont des polyglottes), and are 
to serve as interpreters for the Prussians." 

Shortly after six o'clock the Crown Prince, with his adju- 
tant, came to dine with us. He wore the ensigns of his 
new military rank, a large cross and a field-marshal's baton, 
upon the shoulder-plates. He sat at the top of the table, 
with the Chief at his right and Abeken at his left. After 
soup, we spoke first of the subject that I had been that 
morning preparing for the press, namely, that according 
to a communication from Israel, the secretary of Laurier, 
the provisional government's London agent, Gambetta no 
longer believes in a successful defence, and is inclined to 
make peace upon our conditions ; that Trochu alone of 
the present rulers of France wants to go on fighting, and 
that the others pledged themselves, when he undertook 
the conduct of the defence of Paris, to act always in har- 
mony with him. On that point the Chief remarked, " He 
is said to have provisioned Mont Valerien for two months, 

142 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

so as to retire there with the regular troops who stay by 
him, when the city is givea up, probably in order to in- 
fluence the settlement of the terms of peace. I believe 
for my own part," he continued, " that France will in future 
break up into several fragments. It is broken up into 
parties already. In the different districts people are of 
very different parties. They are Legitimists in Brittany, 
Red Republicans in the South, Moderates elsewhere, and the 
regular army is still attached to the Emperor, at least the 
majority of the officers are. Each of these parts of France 
may follow its own convictions : one Republican, one for the 
Bourbons, one where the Orleanists have most supporters, 
and Napoleon's people — tetrarchies of Judea, Galilee, and 
so forth." 

•The Crown Prince said that it was believed that Paris 
must have underground communication with the outside 
world. The Chief supposed that it must be so, and said, 
" They can't get provisions in that way, but they might get 
news. I have already thought whether we could not fill up 
the sewers with water from the Seine, and so flood at least 
the lower-lying quarters of the city. These sewers go right 
under the Seine." Bucher confirmed this statement, and 
said that he had been in the sewers and had noticed their 
side entrances at different points, where nobody, however, 
was permitted to go. , Somebody said that if Paris were 
now taken it would have an effect upon opinion in Bavaria, 
the accounts from which were again not quite satisfactory. 
The Chief said, "The King remains always the most 
thorough-going German in these exalted regions." The 
conversation then turned on another princely personage, 
who was described as very hostile to Prussia, but is too old 
and frail to be very dangerous. " There is very httle that 
is natural left in him," somebody said. " That reminds me 

XV.] The Poles and the Crown I'rince. 143 

of Gr ," said the Minister, " who had pretty much every- 
thing about him false — his hair, his teeth, his calves, and one 
of his eyes. When he wanted to dress in the morning, the 
larger and the better half of him lay round his bed on chairs 
and tables. It was like the picture of the newly-married 
man in the ' Fliegende Blatter,' whose bride, when she un- 
dressed, put her hair in one corner, her teeth in another, 
and other parts of her elsewhere, and the bridegroom asked, 
' But what is there left for me ? ' " 

The Chief went on to tell us that the sentry at the house 
of the person he had been speaking of, who is a Pole, 
refused, one evening recently, to allow him to go into the 
house, and it was only when he made himself understood in 
Polish that the man was persuaded to do so. " In the 
hospital," he added, " I tried, a couple of days since, to 
talk with the Polish soldiers, and they seemed quite to 
brighten up when they heard a general using their native 
tongue. It was a pity that I could not go on, and had to 
leave. Perhaps it would be well if their commander could 
talk to them.'' 

" Ah, Bismarck, you are going to attack me again on 
that point, as you have done several times before," said the 
Crown Prince, smiling. " No, I really cannot do it j I am 
not going to learn any more languages." 

" But they are really good soldiers, your Royal Highness," 
replied the Chancellor, " and brave fellows, only the majority 
of the priests' party are against us, as well as the aristocracy 
and their retainers, and those who hang on to them. A 
nobleman, who is nobody himself, maintains a whole crowd 
of persons and servants of all kinds, who have nothing par- 
ticular to do, but who act as his house-servants, stewards, 
writers, and so forth. If he is inclined to rebel, he has 
these fellows on his side, as well as his day-labourers, the 

144 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Komorniks. The free peasants do not go with him, even 
when the priest, who is always against us, stirs them up. 
We saw that in Posen, too, where the PoHsh regiments 
had to be withdrawn, solely because they were too rough 
with their own country people. I remember not far from 
our place in Pomerania, there was a market where many 
Kassuben* had established themselves. There was a fight 
there once, because a German had said to a Kassube that 
he would not sell him a cow because he was a Pole. The 
other took this very ill. ' You say I am a Polack,' he said ; 
' No, I am a Prussack, like yourself.' A famous cudgelling 
ensued, other Germans and Poles mixing themselves up in 
the affair." 

In this connection, the Chief added that the Great Elector 
was able to speak Polish quite as well as German, and that 
the later kings had also understood PoUsh. Frederick the 
Great was the first who had not taken the trouble to do so, 
but he had understood French even better than German. 
" I don't deny that, but I am not going to learn Polish. 
Let them learn German," said the Crown Prince, and the 
subject dropped. 

Excellent new dishes every now and then came in, and 
the Crown Prince remarked, " You are really gourmets here. 
I How well fed the gentlemen in your office look ! all but 
1 Bucher, who has not been here so long." " Yes," said the 
' Chief, " it all comes from love offerings. These contribu- 
tions of Rhine wine and pasties, and smoked goose-breast, 
and goose-Hver, are a speciality of the Foreign Office. Our 
people are quite determined to fatten their Chancellor." 

* A tribe of Wends in East Prussia, near Cbslin, on the Lieber and 
the Baltic, who are almost entirely distinct from the Germans, who 
maintain their own customs and language, and whose preachers address 
them both in German and in their native tongue. 

XV.] Presentations to the Crown Prince. 145 

At this point the Crown Prince turned the conversation 
round to ciphering and deciphering, and asked whether it 
was difficult. The Minister explained to him the trick of 
it in detail, and went on to say, " If, for instance, I want to 
cipher the word 'but' {^ aber'), I write down the group of 
numbers for Abeken, and after that the group signifying 
' Strike out the two last syllables." Then I put the cipher 
for Berlin, and tell the writer again to strike out the last 
syllable. Thus I get ' aber.' " 

At dessert the Crown Prince brought out of his pocket a 
short tobacco-pipe, with a porcelain bowl with an eagle on 
it, and lighted up, whilst the rest of us lighted our cigars. 

After dinner, the Crown Prince and the Minister went 
into the drawing-room for coffee with the Councillors. After 
a while we, viz. myself and the secretaries, were brought out 
of the office by Abeken, to be officially presented to the 
future Emperor by the Chief. We were kept waiting perhaps 
a quarter of an hour, as the Chancellor had got deep into 
conversation with the Crown Prince. His distinguished guest 
sat there in the corner, between Madame Jesse's cottage 
piano and one of the windows, and the Chief spoke low to 
him, for the most part keeping his eyes down, while the 
Crown Prince listened with an earnest and almost gloomy 
expression. In the presentation WoUmann came first, and 
the Crown Prince remarked to him that he knew his hand- 
writing. Then I came ; the Chief introducing me as Dr. 
Busch, for the Press. The Crown Prince : " How long have 
you been in the service of the ■ State ?" " Since February, 
your Royal Highness." The Chief: " Dr. Busch is a Saxon 
— a Dresdener." The Crown Prince said, "Dresden is a fine 
city ; I always liked to go there. What was your previous 
occupation?" I answered that I had been editor of the 
Grenzboten. " I have often read it, so that I know you," he 


146 Bismarck in the Franco- Gei'man War. [Chap. 

replied. And then I had also been a great traveller, I told 
him. " Where have you been ?" he asked. " I have been in 
America, and three times in the East," I answered. " Did 
you like it ? — should you like to go back again ?" " Oh yes, 
your Royal Highness, especially to Egypt." " Yes, 1 under- 
stand ; I myself had a great desire to go back there. The 
colours in Egypt are splendid ; but our German meadows and 
woods are far dearer to me." He then presented Blanquart ; 
then Willisch, and finally Wiehr, who mentioned to him, 
among other things, that he had studied music for several 
years under Marx. Wollmann says that he was formerly a 
music-teacher, after which he became a rifleman, in which 
capacity he had come forward at the time the attempt of 
Sefelog on the hfe of the former King had been baffled. 
Then he was employed as telegraphist in the Foreign Office, 
and when there was no more direct telegraphing to do, as 
copyist and decipherer. 

After the presentation, I read over in the Bureau the 
diplomatic reports and minutes of the last few days : the 
minute, for instance, on the King's speech to the deputation 
from the Reichstag, which was drawn by Abeken, and very 
much altered by the Chief. At tea Hatzfeld told me that he 
had been trying to decipher an account of the condition of 
Paris, which had come out with Washburne's messages, and 
that he was doubtful only about a few expressions. He then 
showed it me, and by our united efforts we managed to make 
out the sense of some of them. It appeared to be based 
throughout upon excellent information and to be in con- 
formity with the facts. According to it, the smaller tradesmen 
are suffering severely, but the people below them not very 
much, as they are looked after by the Government. There 
is great want of firing, especially of coals. Gas is no longer 
burned. In the last sorties the French suffered considerable 

XV.] A Domiciliary Visit. 147 

loss, but their spirit is not yet broken. Our victory at Orleans 
has produced no marked impression upon the Parisians. 

I was called to the Chief about half-past ten. He wanted 
an account of Gambetta's being disposed to give in, and of 
Trochu's plan about Mont Valerien, to be inserted in the 
Moniteur. . 

Wednesday^ December 21. — In the morning I again looked 
for .violets, and found some. Then I turned over the recent 
publications. Afterwards I read a tract which I found among 
them, of the treaty between Charles the B|ild and Louis the 
German, at the time of the partition of Lothringen, in the 
year 870, exactly a thousand years ago, establishing the 
first Franco-German boundary. I made extracts from it for 
the press. 

In the afternoon the Chief rode out, and I took a walk 
with Wolimann. There was a keen cold wind, and several 
degrees of frost. We wanted to go to the garden of the 
chateau, but the railings in front of the reservoir of Neptune 
were closed, and the sentry at the post near the chapel would 
not let us pass through. We learned that a domiciliary visita- 
tion was being made in the town. We were told, also, that a 
search was being pursued for hidden weapons, and some said 
for certain persons who had managed to get into the town 
with the intention of making a dash at us, which is hardly 

We take a turn accordingly through the streets. The sailors 
are drawn up on the Avenue da Saint-Cloud, and we notice 
our Chief talking to their commander. In the Rue de la 
Pompe, on the right hand, infantry posts are planted before 
every house, and in the Place Hoche a company of dragoons 
is stationed. All the roads out of the town are barred. We 
see men in blouses arrested, and a gunsmith in the Avenue 
de PariSj behind whom a soldier is carrying a number of 

L 2 

148 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

fowling-pieces. A priest is also marched in. Lastly, about 
a dozen guilty or suspected persons are brought in together, 
and taken across to the prison in the Rue Saint-Pierre, where 
they are ranged in the courtyard. There are some very des- 
perate-looking fellows among them. It is said that forty- 
three fowling-pieces were found in the gunsmith's shop, and 
a gun-barrel, which he had most likely not come by in a 
good way.* 

At table Dr. Lauer was the Chiefs guest. We talked about 
the report that in Paris the people had already swallowed 
all the eatable animals in the Jardin des Plantes, and Hatz- 
feld told us that the camels had been sold for four thousand 
francs (one hundred and sixty pounds) each, that the ele- 
phant's trunk had been eaten by a company of gourmands, 
and that it made an admirable dish. "Ah,'' said Lauer, 
" that is very likely ; it is a mass of muscles woven together, 
which accounts for its flexibility and for the force with which 
it can apply it. It is something like the tongue, and must 
taste like a tongue." Somebody remarked that the camels' 
humps were probably not bad either, and another said that 
the humps were a great delicacy. The Chief listened to 
him for a while, and then said, thoughtfully, first a little 
stooping, then taking a long breath and lifting himself up 
as he usually does when he is joking, " H'm ! The hump- 
backed men, what about their humps ? " Loud and universal 
laughter interrupted him. Lauer, remarked, dryly and scien- 
tifically, that men's humps were due to a perversion of ribs 
or bones, or a sort of curvature of the vertebral column, so that 
they could not be very good for eating, whereas camel's' humps 
were flexible growths of cartilage, which possibly might not 

* The man's name was Listray, and as probably only concealment of 
weapons could be proved against him, he got off tolerably easily. He 
was only compelled to take an involuntary journey into Germany. 

XV.] An Ancestor. I49 

taste badly. This thread was spun out a little longer, and 
we talked of bear's flesh, then of bear's paws, and, lastly, of 
the gourmands among the cannibals, about whom the 
Minister wanted to tell a pleasant story. He began : " A 
child, a fresh young maiden, certainly, but an old grown-up 
tough fellow cannot be good for eating." Then he went on : 
" I remember an old Kaffir, or Hottentot woman, who had 
long been a Christian. When the missionary was preparing 
her for her death, and found her quite ready for glory, 
he asked her whether there was anything she particularly 
wished. ' No,' she said ; ' everything was quite comfortable 
with her ; but if anybody could oblige her with a pair of a 
young child's hands for eating, she would regard them as 
a great delicacy.'" 

We then talked about sleeping, about to-day's domi- 
ciliary visit, and about the sailors whom we met yesterday. 
The Chief said, that if they could have brought the cap- 
tured gunboats into the Seine, great services might have 
been expected of them. He then began to speak once 
more of the recollections of his youth, again mentioning 
the cowherd Brand, and telling us about an ancestor of 
his, who, if I understood him rightly, had fallen at Czaslen. 
" The old people near us," he said, " had often described 
him to my father. He was a mighty hunter before the 
Lord, and a heavy drinker. Once, in a single year, he 
shot 154 red deer; after which Prince Frederick Charles 
will scarcely come up to him, though the' Duke of Dessau 
raay. I remember how I was told things went in Gollnow, 
where the officers ate together, and the colonel managed 
the cooking. It was the fashion there for five or six 
dragoons to march up and down in a sort of chorus, and 
fire their carbines when the toasts were given. People 
certainly went on curiously in those days. For instance. 

150 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

instead of riding on a rail they had a wooden donkey with a 
sharp back, on which dragoons against whom any fault had 
been proved had to sit, often a couple of hours together — 
a very painful punishment. Every now and then, on the 
birthday of the colonel and of some others, they took this 
donkey out to the bridge and pitched him over it ; but there 
was always a new one made. They had had a new one about 
a hundred times over. The burgomaster's wife (I could not 
quite make out what her name was, but it sounded like Dal- 
mer) told my father ... I have the portrait of this ancestor 
of mine in Berlin. I am supposed to be his very image, at 
least I was when I was young, so much so that when I looked 
upon him it was like looking at my own face in the glass." 

We went on in this way about old stories and people, 
and ultimately agreed that many fashions of old days had 
come down to the present time, especially among folks in 
the country districts. Somebody spoke of the children's 
song, " Flieg, Mai-Kdfer, flieg!" ("Fly away, maybug") 
which, along with the ahgebrannten Pommerland (fire- 
ravaged Pomerania), recalled to one the Thirty Years' War. 
" Yes," said the Chief, " I know that expressions used to be 
common with us which manifestly took' us back to the 
beginning of last century. When I had ridden well, my 
father said to me, ' He is just like ' (the name was not quite 
distinct, but sounded like Pluvenel). At that time he always 
said ' He ' in speaking to me. Pluvenel was a master of 
the horse of Louis XIV., and a famous rider. When I had 
ridden he also said sometimes, ' He really rides as if he 
had learned it at Hilmar Cura's,' who had been riding-master 
to Frederick the Great." 

He went on to say that it was owing to a relation of his, 
whose opinion had great weight with his parents, Finance- 
Councillor Kerl, that he studied in Gottingen. He was 

XV.] How to foresee a Sortie. 151 

sent there to Professor Hausmann, and was to work at 
mineralogy. " People at that time thought a good deal of 
Leopold von Buch, and fancied themselves going about 
through the world like him, chipping off bits of rocks with a 
hammer. Nothing of the sort happened with me. It would 
have been better if they had sent me to Bonn, where I 
should have met young men from my own district. In 
Gottingen there was nobody froin Pomerania, so that I 
never came across some of my university friends again 
until I met them in the Reichstag." Somebody then men- 
tioned one of them, Miers, from Hamburg, and the Minister 
said, " Yes, I remember, he was left-handed, but he was not 
good for much." 

Abeken told us that a sortie of the garrison of Paris had 
taken place after the lively cannonade from the forts which 
we had heard in the morning, and that it had been directed 
especially against the hnes occupied by the Guard. It had, 
however, resulted almost entirely in an artillery skirmish, 
and the attack had been known beforehand, and prepared 
for. Hatzfeld remarked that he would like to know how 
they managed to foresee a sortie. He was told that it 
must take place in open ground, that one could see the 
waggons and the guns which had to be brought out, that for 
any movement of great masses of troops nothing could be 
arranged in a single night. " That is true," said the Chief, 
smiling, " but a hundred louis d'or are often an essential 
part of our military previsions.'' 

After dinner I read minutes and despatches. In the even- 
ing I suggested to L. to write an article for the Independance 
Beige upon the Gambetta-Trochu subject. He was also 
informed that Delbriick would come back here on the 28th. 

Thursday, December 22. — It is very cold, certainly, perhaps 
fourteen degrees of frost. The ice flowers are all over my 

1 5 2 Bismarck in the Frajico-German War. [Chap. 

window pane in spite of the quantity of logs in my fire- 
place. In the morning, early, I studied my sketches and 
minutes, and then looked through the newspapers. The 
article upon the Black Sea question, and that defending the 
Luxemburg people against the complaint the Chief had 
made against them because of their support of the French, 
were of especial interest. There was a good deal said of 
the echpse of the sun, which was to begin about half-past 
one. Abeken did me the honour to present me with the ' 
photograph of the Councillors and the secretaries, which is 
not very good, and the gentlemen propose accordingly to 
be taken over again, when I mean to go with them. 

There was no stranger at table to-day. The Chief was 
in an excellent humour, but the conversation had no special 
significance. I may however indicate what I remember of 
it. Who knows to whom it may be agreeable ? First the 
Minister said, smiling, and looking at the memi lying before 
himj " There is always a dish too much. I had already 
decided to ruin my stomach with goose and olives, and 
here is Reinfeld ham, of which I cannot help taking too 
much, merely because I want to get my own share," — he had 
not been to breakfast. " And here is Varzin wild boar, 
t!O0." Somebody mentioned yesterday's sortie, and the 
Chief remarked, "The French came out yesterday with 
three divisions, and we had only fifteen companies, and 
not four complete battalions, and yet we made almost a 
thousand prisoners. The persons who make these attacks, 
here one time and there another, seem to me like a French 
dancing-master^ who is leading a quadrille, and shouting 
to his pupils, now ' Right !' now ' Left ! ' 

" ' Ma commere, quand je dansa, 
Mon cotillon va-t-il bien ? 
II va de cl, il va de la, 

Comme la queue de notre chat.' " 

XV.] Cardinal Antonelli expected. 153 

During the course of ham he said, " Pomerania is the land 
of smoked provisions : smoked goose-breast, smoked eels, 
and smoked ham. They only want nagelholt, as they have 
it in Westphalia,, to make smoked beef. The name, however, 
does not explain itself very clearly — nails, I mean, on which 
things hang while they are being smoked, but the ' holt,' 
perhaps, ought to be written with a d. " Then we talked 
about the cold, and, when the wild boar came on the table, 
of a wild boar hunt which had taken place at Varzin during 
Count Herbert's illness at Bonn. Afterwards the Chief re- 
marked, " That Antonelli should, after all, be making ready 
for a journey, and should be coming here must be quite be- 
wildering to many people.'' Abeken remarked, " Antonelli 
has been very variously estimated in the newspapers ; some- 
times as a man of lofty and distinguished intellect, sometimes 
as a crafty intriguer, sometimes merely as a stupid fellow or 
a blockhead." "Yes," said the Chancellor; "but that is 
not done in the newspapers only ; it is the same with the 
judgment of many diplomatists — Goltz, for instance, and 
our Harry. I shall say no more of Goltz ; he was not that 

kind of man ; but for ■* , he is this way to-day and that ■ 

way to-morrow. When I was at Varzin, and had to read 
his reports from Rome, his opinion about the people there 
changed twice every other week, according as they had been 
treating him in a friendly way or the reverse. Indeed, 
he changed with every post, and frequently he had different 
views in the same letter." 

In the evening I read despatches from Rome, London, 
and Constantinople, and the answers to them. 

Friday, December 23. — Another very cold day. People 
speak of twenty-two degrees of frost. The paragraph in the 
Situation, which makes the Empress Eugdnie see reason 
to conclude peace with us, was sent to the editor of the 

154 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Moniteur. An article of the Times, about Luxemburg, 
defining our position, was forwarded to Germany. The 
beginning of Treitsclike's pamphlet in the Preussische Jahr- 
biicher was prepared for the King's reading. The article in 
the Situation is dated November 17, and is as follows : " Yes, 
we ask the reigning Erripress to negotiate peace with 
Prussia; and we ask Prussia to negotiate with the reign- 
ing Empress. From the moment when the distinguished 
lady expresses her desire to put an end to the effusion of 
blood, King William will owe it to his own dignity- to take 
a step to meet her, and neither the originators of war to 
the bitter end, nor the different pretenders each of whom 
wants to utilise the misfortunes of his countr)' to set a 
crown on his own head, could expect him to do so to meet 

" The Empress need not ask herself whether her idea is 
really an expression of the mind of France. Let her speak, 
and she will see that France never misunderstands heroic 
sentiments. As for the Prussian Government, it is not neces- 
sary for us that it should wish the return of the Napoleonic 
dynasty ; it only needs to see that the greatest mistake it 
could commit would be not to promote an alliance between 
itself and a dynasty the destruction of which it can never 
contemplate if it reflects seriously on its own real interests. 
To mutilate us would be to kill it, and it cannot consent to 
mutilate us if by its doing so no power would be left in 
France strong enough not to be liable to be compelled to 
violate even its own solemn pledges. The Empire alone 
can relieve Germany, making it unnecessary for her to 
conquer the whole country, and permitting her to moderate 
her claims for a rectification of territory, because only the 
Empire can discuss with France those serious alterations 
jn the map of Europe which the attitude of the neutrals 

XV.] A French Lady' s Visit. 155 

renders indispensable, both for the repose of Germany and 
for the restoration of France." 

About breakfast time a French lady, whose husband has 
been detected in treacherous relations with a band of Francs- 
tireurs in the Ardennes, and been condemned to death for 
it, is announced as, waiting for the Chief She is going to 
beg his Hfe, and the Chief is to procure it for her. He will 
not see her, since, as he sends her word, the matter is not 
in his province. She must go to the War Minister. She 
goes off to him, but Wollmann believes that she will get there 
too late, as Colonel Krohn had received an order on the 
14th to let justice take its course.* 

In a cutting cold wind Wollmann and I drove out in the 
afternoon, while vigorous firing was going on in the North, 
in Rothschild's little coach, to the Villa Coublay, which 
lies on the road which brought us here from Ferriferes, and 
where the park of artillery destined for the bombardment 
of the south side of Paris is collected. There were about 
eighty cannon, and nearly a dozen mortars, arranged in four 
long rows. I had pictured these instruments of destruction 
to myself as something frightful to look at. Somebody 
noticed clouds ascending in the north — perhaps the smoke 
of cannon firing, possibly only from factory chimneys. 

When I got back I discovered, on reading over the news- 
papers, that one of the English reporters had already de- 
scribed this siege park quite accurately in his journal, and 
I marked the article for the Chief Hatzfeld handed it to 
him, probably for forwarding to the general staff. 

* This was a mistake. The letter may have gone off, but the person 
concerned, the notary Tharel, from Rocroy, in the Department of the 
Ardennes, was banished to Germany. In June 1871 he was still in 
Verden, where he was liberated shortly afterwards on the application 
of the French Government. 

156 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

At dinner our guests were Baron and Deputy von Schwarz- 
Koppen, and my old Hannoverian acquaintance, Herr von 
Pfuel, who had in the meantime become district chief at 
Celle. They were both to be appointed to prefectures, or 
something of that sort. Afterwards Count Lehndorf, and 
an uncommonly handsome man, von Donhoff, a lieutenant 
of hussars, who, if I am not mistaken, was an adjutant of 
Prince Albrecht's. To-day's menu may be given as a proof 
that our table was excellently supplied at Versailles. It 
included onion soup (with port wine), a haunch of wild 
boar (with Tivoli beer), Irish stew, roast turkey, chestnuts 
(with champagne and red wine, according to choice), and 
a dessert of excellent Caville apples and magnificent pears. 

We were informed that General von Voigts-Rhetz had 
appeared before Tours, the population of which having 
offered resistance, he had been compelled to fire grenades 
at the town. The Chief remarked : " It is not as it should 
be, if he stopped firing as soon as they showed the white 
flag. I would have gone on firing grenades into the town 
till they had sent me out 400 hostages." He again expressed 
himself severely about the mild treatment that officers gave 
civilians who resisted. Even, notorious treason is fre- 
quently not suitably punished, so that the French think 
they can venture to do anything against us. " That is 
how Krohn behaves," he went on. " He first charges an 
advocate with conspiracy with Francs-tireurs, and after seeing 
that he is condemned to death, he sends us one petition for 
pardon after another, instead of shooting him, and at last — 
though he gets the credit of being an energetic officer — he 
makes no difficulty about sending the man's wife on to me 
with a safe-conduct round her neck." 

From this foolish indulgence the conversation turned to 
Unger, the chief of the general staff who had been sent 

XV.] The Feuilleton at Versailles. 157 

home, his mind liaving given way. He usually sits quiet, 
brooding on vacancy, occasionally, however, bursting out 
into loud sobbing. " Yes," sighed the Chief, " the chief 
of the general staff is a sorely harassed man. He is inces- 
santly at work, and always responsible ; he can carry nothing 
through ; he is perpetually cheated ; it is almost as bad as 
being a Minister." " I know, myself, what that sobbing is," 
he said ; " a nervous hysteria, a sort of feverish convul- 
sion. I had it once at Inkolsburg, so badly that my gorge 
rose. If a chief of the general staff has a bad time, so has 
a Minister — every kind of vexation, gnat stings without end. 
The other office may suit some people, but good manage- 
ment is absolutely indispensable." 

When the haunch of wild-boar from Varzin'was set on the 
table the Minister talked with Lehndorf and Pfuel about 
hunting, about these denizens of the woods and marshes, and 
about his own exploits in the sport. Afterwards somebody 
mentioned the Moniteur, which appears here, and the Chief 
remarked, " During the last few weeks they have been print- 
ing in it a novel by Heyse about Meran (a watering-place 
in Austria). Such sentimental business is out of place in 
a paper which is published with the King's money, as this 
really is. The Versaillese don't want it. They want poli- 
tical reports and military news from France and England, 
— and I should like to see some from Italy — not this 
sugary-tasted tittle-tattle. I have some poetry in my nature, 
too, but I don't remember ever glancing at this feuilkto?i 
after I read the first couple of sentences." Abeken, who 
had induced them to publish the novel, stood up for the 
editors, and said that it had been taken from the Revue 
des deux Mondes, which was an eminent French paper, but 
the Chief adhered to his opinion. Somebody then said that 
the Moniteur was now writing better French. " That may 

158 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

be," said the Minister ; " I don't care much about it. It is 
the way, however, with us Germans. We are always, even 
in the highest circles, asking whether we are pleasant and 
agreeable to other people. If they don't understand it, 
let them learn German. It is a matter of indifference 
whether a proclamation is drawn up in an elegant French 
style, so long as it speaks adequately and intelligibly. We 
can never be quite perfect in a foreign language. It is 
impossible that a person who uses it only now and then 
during, perhaps, two years and a half, should be able to 
express himself as well in it as one who has been using 
it for fifty-four." Somebody ironically praised Steinmetz's 
proclamation, and quoted some remarkable specimens of 
language from it. Lehndorf said, " It was certainly not 
elegant French, but it was quite intelligible." The Chief, 
" Yes, understanding it is what they have to do with it. If 
they can't, let them get somebody to translate it for them." 

" Many people who are quite familiar with French are no 
good for us. It is our misfortune that anyone who cannot 
speak German decently is at once a made man, especially 
if he mangles English. The old man (I understood him 
to mean Meyendorfif) once said to me, ' Never trust an 
Englishman who speaks French with a correct accent,' and 
I have found that generally right. But I ought to except 
Odo Russell." 

He then told the story how old Knesebeck once, to every- 
body's astonishment, got up to say something in the State 
Council. After he had stood there a while, without saying any- 
thing, somebody coughed. " I beg," he said," that you will not 
interrupt me," after which, and after standing another couple 
of minutes, he said, in a sorrowful way, " I have really 
forgotten what I had to say," and sat down. 

The conversation turned on the subject of Napoleon III., 

XV.] The Chancellor' s Opinion of Napoleon III. 1 59 

and the Chief said he was not a man of large views. " He 
is," lie went on, " a far kindlier man than he usually gets 
credit for, but nothing like the clever fellow he used to be 
thought." " That reminds me," said Lehndorf, " of a criti- 
cism of the First Napoleon — a good fellow, but stupid." 
" No," said the Chief, seriously, " in spite of what we may 
think about the coup d'etat, he is really kindly, a man of 
feeling, even sentimental ; but neither his intelligence nor 
his information is much to speak of. He is especially poor 
in geography, though he was brought up in Germany and 
went to school there, and he lives in a world of all sorts of 
fantastic ideas. In July he kept buzzing round and round 
for three days without being able to decide on anything, and 
even now he does not know what he wants. His knowledge 
is of that sort that he would certainly be plucked in an 
examination for admission to the bar. Nobody would 
believe it when I said so, long ago. So far back as 1854 
and 1855 I told the King so. He has absolutely no idea 
how things are in Germany. When I was Minister, I had an 
intendew with him in Paris. He then said that things could 
not go on long as they were doing, that there would be a 
rising in Berlin, and a revolution in the whol'e country, and 
that the King would have everybody voting against him 
in a plebiscite. I told him that the people in our country 
were not barricade-builders, and that in Prussia revolutions 
were only made by the kings. If the King could stand the 
strain on him for three or four years, and I allowed that 
there was one — the estrangement of the public being very 
painful and disagreeable to him — he would certainly win 
his game. Unless he got tired and left me in the lurch, I 
would not fail him. If we were to appeal to the people, 
and put it to the vote, he would even now have nine-tenths 
of them in his favour. The Emperor, at the time, said of 

i6o Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

me, ' Ce fUest pas un homme serieux ' (" He is not a man of 
consequence ") — a mot of which I did not think myself at 
liberty to remind him in the weaving-shed at Donchery." 

Count Lehndorf asked if we need be in any apprehension 
about Bebel's and Liebknecht's imprisonment, and whether 
it would cause much excitement. " No," said the Chief, 
" there is nothing to be afraid of." Lehndorf said, " But 
Jacoby's case caused great disturbance and lamentation." 
The Chief said, " He was a Jew, and a Konigsberg man. 
Touch a Jew, and a howl is raised in every nook and corner 
of the earth — or a freemason. Besides, they interfered in 
a public "meeting, which they had no right to do." He 
spoke of the Konigsberg people as always quarrelsome, and 
inclined to go into opposition, and Lehndorf said, " Yes, 
indeed, Manteufifel understood Konigsberg well when he said 
in his address, ' Konigsberg continues to be — Konigsberg.'" 

Somebody remarked that people began letters to Favre 
with " Monsieur le Ministre," and the Chief said, " Next 
time I must address him as ' Hochwohlgeborner Herr ' (' Right 
Honourable Sir ').'' Out of that grew a long Byzantine 
discussion about titles of honour, and the expressions, 
Excellency, Right Honourable, and Honourable. The 
Chancellor's views and opinions were decidedly anti- 
Byzantine. "We ought to give up the whole thing," he 
said. " In private letters I never use them at all now, and 
officially I call councillors down to the third class, Right 

Pfuel remarked that in legal documents also these high- 
sounding addresses were omitted. " You are to appear on 
such a day at such a place." " Neither are these legal ad 
dresses quite. my ideal. A trifle would make them perfect. 
They should say, ' You are to appear, you scoundrel, on 
such a day at such a place.' " 

x\'.] A Byzantiiie Discussion. i6i 

Abeken, who is a Byzantine of the purest water, said that 
it had been already taken very ill in diplomatic circles that 
people sometimes were not given their proper titles, and that 
" Right Honourable Sir " was not proper below Councillors 
of the second class. " And lieutenants," cried Count 
Bismarck-Bohlen. " I shall quite do away with it among 
our people," said the Minister; "there is an ocean of ink 
wasted over it annually ; and the taxpayer is justly entitled 
to complain of the extravagance. I am quite content when ' 
I am addressed simply as the Minister-President Count von 
Bismarck. I beg you," turning to Abeken, " to draw up a 
proposition on the subject for me. It is a useless pigtail, 
and I wish it to be dropped." Abeken the cutter-off of 
pigtails — what a dispensation ! 

In the evening I wrote another article on the perversion 
of the words which the King addressed to French non- 
combatants at the beginning of the war. The army order 
from Homburg also is now brought forward to show that he 
has not kept his word ; and it is not merely the French but 
their good friends the Social Democrats in Germany who are 
circulating these slanders. In the first week of the present 
month, for instance, a meeting of the Workmen's Union in 
Vienna passed a resolution charging the King with a breach 
of his word of honour on the strength of these misrepresen- 
tations. But neither the army order from Homburg (dated 
July 8) nor the proclamation (dated on the nth) contains 
any pledge to make war only against French soldiers. In 
the former document are the words, " We make no war 
upon the peaceable inhabitants of the country.'' The em- 
phasis is on the word peaceable. But Francs-tireurs and all 
who support them or actively resist our operations in that 
or in any other way, are not peaceable inhabitants. And in 


l62 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the proclamation it is expressly stated that " the generals 
in command of separate corps will specify the measures, of 
which further notification will be given, which are to be 
taken both against communes and individuals who set them- 
selves in opposition to the usages of war. They will also 
regulate everything referring to requisitions for what may 
be thought necessary to supply the wants of the troops." 
These notices were acted upon. The French certainly 
had no right to complain of the severity of the Germans. 
We never banished persons domiciled amongst us as they 
did, hunting them for no reasonable excuse out of house 
and home, into misery. We threw no crews of captured 
merchant ships into our prisons. We destroyed no private 
property except what was capable of doing us harm, and the 
Geneva Convention was nowhere broken by us as it was by 
them. It was perfectly regular, and it was not in contra- 
diction to our promises, for us to use measures of constraint 
with recalcitrant localities, or to make reprisals to prevent 
further outrages against humanity and public rights. It is 
under this head of complaint that we are charged with 
throwing shells recently into Tours — but the inhabitants 
had received us with hostility — and with breaking down 
the railway bridge near the town — a fact which the Chief 
ordered me to telegraph shortly before midnight. War 
is war, but now that it comes home to themselves, the 
French do not seem able to apprehend the fact. They 
mastered it more rapidly in other countries, as, for instance, 
in Algiers, in the States of the Church, in China, or in 

Saturday, Beceynber 24. — Christmas Eve in this foreign 
land ! It is very cold, as it was both yesterday and the day 
before. I telegraph that with two divisions Manteuffel 
yesterday defeated Faidherbe, the general of the French 

XV.] The Trojans and the Greeks. 163 

army of the North, which is reckoned at 60,000 men, and 
compelled him to retreat. 

At dinner Lieutenant-Colonel von Beckedorfif is the 
Chiefs guest, so old a friend of his that they " thou" each 
other. On the table stands a miniature Christmas tree, a 
span high, and beside it a case with two cups, one in the 
Renaissance style and one of Tula work. They are both 
presents from the Countess to her husband. Each holds 
only two good drinks. The Count sent them round the 
table for inspection, and said, " I am really silly about cups, 
although there is no sense in such a fancy. As these come 
from home, if you bring them under my eye when I am 
away from the country, nothing in the town will trouble me 
any longer." 

Then he said to Beckedorff that his promotion had surely 
been slow, and added, " Had I been an officer — and I wish 
I had been — I should have had an army now, and we 
should not have been stuck here outside Paris.'' 

This remark was followed by further discussion of the 
conduct of the war, during which the Chief said, " It 
is sometimes not so much the generals as the soldiers 
themselves that begin our battles and take direction of 
them. It was the same with the Trojans and the Greeks. 
Two combatants launched words of scorn at each other, 
they came to blows, spears were thrown, others rushed up, 
who also threw their spears and dealt their blows, and out 
of all this came a battle. The fore-posts first fire at each 
other needlessly, others cluster up to them when things are 
getting brisk, at first a subaltern in command of a few men, 
then the lieutenant with more, after him the regiment, last of 
all, the general and his whole army. It was in that way 
that the battle of Gravelotte came about, which was meant 
for the I gth. It was different at Vionville. They had to 

164 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

fling themselves on the French lines there as a mastiff flies 
at a terrier." 

Beckedorff then told us how he had been twice wounded 
at Worth, once between the neck and the shoulder-blade, 
certainly he believed, by an explosive bullet, and another 
time in the knee. He had dropped off his horse on the 
ground. As he lay there a Zouave or a Turco, leaning 
against a tree, took deliberate aim at him, and the bullet 
grazed his head. Another of these half-savages, he said, 
had thrown himself into a ditch during the flight of the 
French, and when our men had passed by without finding 
him, he got out and shot at them from behind. Some 
of them turned back to run after him, and one of them, 
as it was impossible to fire on account of our own troops, 
knocked him down. In that way they mastered and killed 
him. " There was not the least reason for his firing, for 
nobody had meddled with him in his ditch," said the 
narrator ; " it was the mere passion for murder." 

The Chief recalled other stories of the barbarity of the 
French, and asked Beckedorff to write his case down for 
him, and to allow the doctors to examine medically into the 
evidence about the explosive bullet. Then he began to talk 
about country life, saying that he was not very fond of hilly 
country, both because of the usually confined prospect in 
the valleys, and because of the going up and down hill. 
" I like the level country better," he said, " though it need 
not be quite as flat as at Berlin ; but little heights, with 
pretty trees in leaf, and swift, clear brooks, such as we have 
in Pomerania, and especially on the Baltic coast." From 
which he diverged to the different Baltic watering-places, 
mentioning some as extremely agreeable and others as 

After dinner I went out for a couple of turns in the 

XV.] The German Conventiojt. 165 

avenue made by the rows of trees before our street. Mean- 
while they were getting up their Christmas tree in the 
dining-room, and Keudell was showering about cigars and 
ginger-bread. As I came back too late for the festivity, my 
presents were sent up to my room. I then read, as I do 
regularly now, all that has been done during the day in the 
way of minutes and despatches. Afterwards I was called to 
the Chief twice over, one time immediately after the other, 
and then a third time. There are to be several articles 
about the horrible way in which the French are carrying on 
the war, not merely the Francs-tireurs but the regular troops, 
who violate the provisions of the Convention of Geneva 
almost daily, and appear to remember and claim the execu- 
tion of only so much of it as seems advantageous to the 
French. I am to dwell on the firing on flags of truce^ on 
the ill-usage and looting of doctors, sick carriers, and 
hospital assistants, on the killing of the wounded, the misuse 
of the Geneva band by the Francs-tireurs, the use of ex- 
plosive bullets (as in Beckedorff's case), the treatment, 
contrary to the law of nations, of ships and crews of the 
German merchant navy, captured by French cruisers. I 
am then to add, that the present Government of France is 
chargeable with a great deal of the blame of these things. 
It was they who let loose on us a people's war, and who 
are now unable to control the passions they have kindled, 
which carry people beyond all public rights, and all custom 
of war. On them, therefore, rests the responsibility for all 
the severity with which we have been compelled to act in 
France upon our rights as combatants, against our own 
wishes, and, as the wars in Schleswig and Austria prove, 
contrary to our natural inclinations. 

In the evening, about ten, the Chief receives the Iron 
Cross of the first class. Abeken and Keudell had been 

1 66 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

already made happy in the afternoon by the second class of 
the same Order. 

Sunday^ December 25. — In the morning it is again cold, 
but Abeken goes notwithstanding to hear sermon in the 
chapel of the chiteau. Theiss pointed out to us his coat 
with the cross on it, and said, " The Privy Councillor won't 
certainly wear his cloak to-day." In the Bureau we learn that 
Cardinal Bonnechose, from Rouen, proposes to come here. 
He and Persigny want the summoning of the whole Legis- 
lative Body, and, perhaps even more urgently, of the Senate, 
which is made up of calmer and maturer elements, to deli- 
berate on peace. It appears, moreover, to be certain that 
people are in earnest about the bombardment of Paris, 
which will take place in a very few days now. So at least 
we understand the King's order, just issued, appointing 
Lieutenant-General von Kameke, at present commanding 
the 14th Division of Infantry, to the supreme command 
of the Engineers, and Major-General Prince Hohenlohe- 
Ingelfingen to the supreme command of the siege artillery. 

To-day we had nobody at dinner, and during the conver- 
sation almost nothing was said worth noting. I may perhaps 
mention, that Abeken remarked, I forget now in what 
connection, that I was keeping a very exact diary. Bohlen 
confirmed this, and said in his lively way, " Yes, he writes, 
' At 3-4S, Count, or Baron So-and-so said this or that to 
me,' as if he expected some day to have to swear to it." 
Abeken was of opinion that it would one day be a valuable 
source of historical knowledge, and he hoped he might live to 
read it. I said that it certainly would be, and trustworthy, 
too, even, if it were thirty years before it appeared. The 
Chief smiled, and said, " Yes, people will then say, ' Cf. 
Buschii cap. 3, p. 20.'" 

After table I read documents, and found in them that the 

XV.J Drinking and Cards. 167 

idea of pushing the boundaries of Germany farther westward 
was first laid before the King officially on August 14th, at 
Horny. On September 2, the Government of Baden had 
sent in a memoir pointing in a similar direction. 

Monday^ December 26. — That on Boxing-day of the year 
70, I should be eating genuine Saxon Christmas cake in a 
private house in Versailles is what I should have refused to 
credit, if all the twelve minor prophets had told me of it 
beforehand. Yet this morning I had a large slice of one, 
a gift from Abeken's liberality. He has received a box with 
these sorts of baked things from Germany. 

Except for indispensable work, to-day was a complete 
holiday. The weather was not so cold as it had been, but 
as clear as yesterday. About three there was brisk firing 
again from the forts. Perhaps they have had a note of the 
fact, that we are pretty nearly ready to reply to them ? Last 
night they certainly fired fiercely for a while out of their 
big mouths of thunder. 

Waldersee was with us at dinner, and the subjects spoken 
of were almost wholly military. 

At length the conversation turned on the power of 
drinking a good deal, and the Minister said : " Once I 
never thought of the amount I was drinking. What things I 
used to do — the heavy wines, especially the Burgundies !" 
The conversation then turned on cards, and he said that he 
used formerly to do a great deal in that way, and that once, 
for instance, he had played twenty rubbers at whist, one after 
the other, " equal to seven hours of time." He only took ' 
an interest in it when the play was high, but high play was 
not for the father of a family. The discussion rose out 
of the Chiefs happening to say that he had called some- 
body a " Riemchenstecher ;" and after asking whether any 
of us understood it, he explained the word as follows : 

1 68 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. xv. 

" Riemchenstechen is an old game of soldiers ; and a 
Riemchenstecher is not exactly a rogue, but a crafty and 
subtle sort of person." 

In the evening I wrote another article on the barbarous 
way in which the French are carrying on the war, and pre- 
prepared for his Majesty's perusal a paper in the Staats 
hiirger-Zeitung, which recommends less tender dealing with 
the French. 

( i69 ) 



At last, at last! On December 27 the long-desired bom- 
bardment of Paris began on the east side of the city. As 
what follows will show, we knew nothing at first about it, 
and even afterwards our fire made an impression of great 
power only on certain days. One very soon got used to it 
— it never distracted our attention from trifles, and never long 
interrupted the course of our talk or the flow of our thoughts. 
The Diary will tell us more about it in due time. 

On Tuesday, from early morning till well into the day 
there was a heavy snowfall with tolerably hard frost. In 
the morning the man-servant attached to the Chancellor's 
office, who attended on Abeken and me, told me about our 
old privy councillor, whom he evidently considered to be a 
Catholic : " He reads his prayers in the morning. I believe 
they are in Latin. He reads them quite loud out, so that I 
hear them often in the ante-room. Probably it is the Mass.'' 
He added that Abeken was of opinion that th6 heavy thunder- 
ing of cannon which had been going on in the distance 
since seven o'clock was probably the beginning of the bom- 

I wrote several letters with instructions for articles. After 
twelve I telegraphed, by the Chief's command, to London 
that the bombardment of the outworks of Paris began this 
morning. Mont Avron, a work near Bondy, seems to be the 
first point aimed at by our artillery, and the Saxons have 
had the privilege of firing the first shot. The Minister stays 

170 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the whole day in bed, not because he is particularly unwell, 
but, as he says, because he cannot keep himself reasonably 
warm in any other way. He did not come to dinner. Count 
Solms dined with us. The only thing to note in the conver- 
sation was that Abeken said that there was a very good 
poem on the Duke of Coburg in Kladderadatsch — probably 
a eulogy. 

The Bonapartists appear to have become very active 
and to have great plans. Persigny and Palikao want us 
to neutralise Orleans, to let the Corps Ldgislatif be sum- 
moned there, to put the question to it. Whether it wishes 
a Republic or a Monarchy, and if it votes for a monarchy 
which Dynasty it prefers. We shall wait a little yet before 
that, till greater dejection makes people even more pliable 
than at present. Bonnechose, the archbishop of Rouen, 
wants to make an attempt to negotiate a peace between 
Germany and France. He was at one time a jurist, and 
later in life became a clergyman. He is supposed to be an 
intelligent man, and is on terms with the Jesuits. For 
himself, he is a Legitimist, though he holds Eugenie in great 
respect for her piety. He was an eager champion of the 
Infallibility dogma, and expects to be Pope, and so indeed 
he has some prospect of being. According to what several 
people say, he hopes to induce Trochu, with whom he is 
acquainted, to agree to the surrender of Paris, provided we 
renounce our territorial claims ! In place of making them 
we might, the archbishop thinks, require that Nice and 
Savoy should be given back to Victor Emmanuel, and then 
compel him to restore their territories to the Pope, the 
Duke of Tuscany, and the King of Naples. Thus we 
should acquire the credit of being the champions of order 
and the restorers of right all over Europe. What a comical 
plan ! 

XVI.] A)i American Lady's Christmas Card. 171 

The Chief has given orders for the most stringent measures 
against Nogent-le-Roi, where a surprise by the Francs-tireurs 
was supported by the population ; he has also refused to 
receive the petition of the mayor and municipality of 
Chitillon, for a remission of the iine of a million francs, 
imposed on them because something of the same sort hap- 
pened there. His principle in both cases is, that the people 
in the country districts must be made to realise what war is, 
so as to incline them to think of peace. 

I was called to the Chief about eleven. He gave me 
several Berlin newspaper articles for " my collection " (made 
by his order, of instances of the barbarous way in which the 
French carry on the war), and two other papers which are 
to go to the King. 

Wednesday, December 28. — A snowfall, and moderate cold. 
The Chief does not leave his room to-day either. He gives 
me a letter in French to do what I like with, which " an 
American" lady had sent him on the 25th December. It 
says : " Count von Bismarck, — Enjoy the pleasant climate of 
Versailles as much as you can, Coimt, for one day you will 
have to endure the flames of hell for all the misfortunes you 
have caused France and Germany." That is all. It is not 
easy to see the lady's object in writing the letter. 

At breakfast, his Excellency Delbriick is again with us. 
He is convinced that the Second Bavarian Chamber will 
ultimately adopt the Versailles Convention just as completely 
as the North German Reichstag did. Before their final 
decision he had really had some very anxious days. 

The French papers make out that nearly every German 
soldier is uncertain about the duties imposed on him by the 
eighth commandment. According to a notice issued by the 
prefect of the Department of the Seine and Oise, there must 
be exceptions, and very splendid exceptions, even to this 

1/2 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

rule. It says : " The public is informed that the following 
objects have been found by the soldiers of the German 
army : (i) In the house of the notary Maingot, at Thyais, 
which is now standing empty, at the corner of the street 
leading to Versailles and to Grignon, a packet containing 
valuables estimated at 1 00,000 francs {£,^,000). (2) At 
Choisy-le-Roi, in a house in the Rue de .la Raffinerie, 
No. 29, deserted by one of the inhabitants, a packet with 
valuable papers. (3) On the road from Palaiseau to Ver- 
sailles a purse of money with ten Prussian thalers (thirty 
shillings), and several small French and German coins. 
(4) In the deserted house of M. Simon, at Ablon, two 
packets with nearly 3000 francs in them. (5) In the garden 
of M. Duhuy, adjunct at Athis, a box with railway shares 
and other valuable papers. (6) In the deserted house of 
M. Dufoss^, at Choisy-le-Roi, Rue de ViUiers, No. 12, 
papers of the value of 7000 francs. (7) In the convent at 
Hay 11,000 francs worth of valuable papers. (8) In a 
house deserted by its owner, on the bank of the Seine, at 
Saint-Cloud, a packet with valuable papers, (g) In a de- 
serted house at Brunoy a small mantelpiece clock.'' (A kind 
of thing which, according to the assertions of the French 
journals, we are particularly fond of packing up and carrying 
away with us.) " (10) In the garden of the house near the 
church, at the corner of the street between Villeneuve-le- 
Roi and the churchyard of Orly, several articles of jewellery 
of antique and of modern workmanship. (11) In the garden 
near the conservatory of the Chateau Rouge, at Fresnes-les- 
Rungis, a milk-pail containing articles in gold and silver, 
drafts payable to bearer, and other things." 

Thursday, December 29. — Much snow, and not much cold. 
The Minister remains in bed as he did yesterday, but con- 
tinues to work, and there does not seem to be very much 

XVI.] The New German Constitution. 173 

wrong with him. He tells me to telegraph that the First 
Army, in pursuit of Faidherbe, has pushed forward to Ba- 
paume, and that Mont Avron, which was under fire yester- 
day — thirty or forty guns were employed in bombarding it — 
has ceased to reply. At breakfast we learn that the Saxon 
artillery had four men killed and nineteen wounded during 
yesterday and the day before. 

In the afternoon Granville's despatch to Loftus about the 
Bismarck circular on the Luxemburg affair was translated 
for the King. I then studied official documents. About 
the middle of October a memorial was sent from Coburg 
to the Chief, proposing a new constitution for Germany. 
Among its suggestions is one pointing to the restoration of 
the dignity of Emperor, and to the ultimate substitution for 
the Confederation Council of Confederation Ministries, and 
the creation of a United Council of the Empire out of repre- 
sentatives of the Governments and delegates from the dis- 
trict Parliaments. The Chief answered that it had long been 
contemplated to carry out one of the ideas involved in these 
proposals. He must guard himself against the suggestion 
about Confederation Ministries and the Council of the 
Empire, as he considered that it might stand in the way 
of any other new arrangements. . . . From Brussels we are 
informed that the King of the Belgians is well disposed to 
us, but that he sees no way of interfering with the press in 
his own country, which is hostile to Germany. The Grand 
Duke of Hesse has gone so far as to say that Elsass and 
Lothringen must become Prussian provinces. Dalwigk, on 
the other hand, who is as much against us as ever, wants 
the provinces which are to be taken from France to be 
incorporated with Baden, which could give the district of 
Heidelberg and Mannheim to Bavaria, so as to restore the 
connection with the Palatinate on the left bank of the 

174 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Rhine. In Rome the Pope will undertake " mediation " 
between us and France. 

In the evening I gave Bucher, for action on the subject, 
my collection of newspaper accounts of the inhuman way in 
which the French are carrying on the war contrary to the 
laws of nations. About ten the Minister sent for me. He 
was lying on a sofa before the fire, covered with a blanket. 
He said, " Well, we have it." " What, your Excellency ?" 
" Mont Avron." He then showed me a letter from Count 
Waldersee, to say that the fort was occupied this afternoon by 
the troops of the Twelfth Army Corps, who' had found there 
numerous gun-carriages, rifles, and munitions of war, and 
many dead bodies. The Minister said, " I hope there is no 
mine there to blow up the poor Saxons." I forwarded the 
account of this first success by telegraph to London, in 
cipher, for fear the general staff might take offence. 

Afterwards the Chancellor sent for me again, to show me 
a paper in the Kolnische Zeitung, reproducing an article from 
the Vienna Tageblatt, in which it was said that Bismarck 
had been completely wrong about the French capacity for 
resistance, and, in consequence of this over-confidence, to 
which hundreds of thousands of men (they might as well 
have said millions) had been sacrificed, he had advanced 
demands far too extravagant as conditions of peace. The 
answer on our side was, that nobody could tell the Chan- 
cellor's peace conditions, as he had not yet had any oppor- 
tunity to formulate them officially, but that they were cer- 
tainly not so exacting as those of public opinion in Germany, 
which was almost unanimous in demanding back the whole 
of Lothringen. Neither could anybody be sure of his views 
as to the capacity of Paris for resistance, as he had never 
had an opportunity to state them either. 

Firing, several times renewed, was carried on all day from 

XVI.] The Word of Hoiioitr of French Officers. 175 

heavy ordnance, and also through the night up till mid- 

Friday, December t,o. — The bitter cold of the last few 
days continues. The Chief still keeps his room, on account 
of illness, and is mostly in bed. In the morning, at his 
request, I telegraph fresh details about the occupation of 
Mont Avron, and about the shameful bribe offered, accord- 
ing to official admissions, by the Government of TOurs to 
tempt the captive French officers to break their word of 
honour. I wrote articles also for the German press, and 
one for the Moniteur here, on this subject, much as follows : 

We have several times taken occasion to point out the 
depth of degradation in the ideas certain statesmen and 
officers of the French army entertain on the subject of 
military honour. A communication which reaches us from 
a good source, proves that we had not yet realised how 
deeply this evil is seated, and how widely it has spread. We 
have before us an official decree issued by the French 
Ministry of War, from the 5th bureau of the 6th division, 
and which is headed Solde et revues, dated Tours, No- 
vember 13, and signed by Lieutenant- Colonel Alfred Jerald, 
and by Colonel Tissier, the chief of the general staff of 
the 17 th army corps. This document, which refers also 
to another issued on November 10, promises a reward in 
money to all French officers without exception, who, being 
now prisoners in Germany, can make their escape. We 
say without exception— that is, to those officers even who 
have given their word of honour not to attempt to escape. 
The bribe offered for such a shameless proceeding is 1750 
francs {£to). This fact needs no comment. It will probably 
excite indignation throughout France. Honour, the most 
precious possession of every German officer — and, duty and 
justice compel us to add, in old days of every French officer 

1/6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

also — is regarded by the men whom the 4th of September 
raised to power, as a matter of sale and purchase, and at a 
very moderate rate too. In this way French officers will be 
driven to see that France is no longer directed by a Govern- 
ment, but by a business house of loose principles in the 
matter of honesty and decency, trading under the name of 
Gambetta and Co. " Who will buy our goods : any words 
of honour for sale ?" 

Afterwards I sent off a short article on a mistake which 
cropped up again in the Kolnische Zeitung on the occasion 
of the despatch sent by the Chancellor to Vienna. The 
great Rhenish newspaper says : " Since 1866 we have been 
among those who have incessantly entreated Vienna at one 
time, and Berhn at another, to be done with their mutual 
jealousies, which then became meaningless, and to draw as 
close as possible one to the other. We have often regretted 
the personal rivalry between Bismarck and Beust, which 
appeared to be an obstacle to this reconciliation," Src. My 
answer was : " We have already had occasion repeatedly to 
notice that the Kolnische Zeitung perpetually attributes what 
the Chancellor does and leaves undone to personal motives, 
personal likes or dislikes, inclinations, or ill-tempers, and we 
find here a new proof of this unjustifiable prejudice. AVe 
cannot make out how people can keep coming forward 
continually with such suspicions. We know this, however, 
that there is no personal rivalry between the Chancellor of 
the North German Confederation and the Imperial Chan- 
cellor of Austro-Hungary ; that the two statesmen were on a ' 
very good footing with each other before 1866, when they 
often came into personal relationship, as Count Bismarck 
has mentioned several times in the North German Reichs- 
tag. Since that they have had no private intercourse to 
create bitterness, for the simple reason that they have had 

XVI.] Bismarck and Beiist. i "JJ 

none at all. If they have been hitherto more or less op- 
posed to each other as statesmen, the reason is no secret. 
They have been the representatives of different political 
systems, endeavouring to realise different political ideals 
between which it is not easy to find a point of reconcili- 
ation, though it may not be absolutely impossible. This and 
nothing else is the explanation of what the KolniscJie Zeiiung 
tries to explain through personal motives, by which no 
statesman of the present day is less influenced in feeling or 
action than the Chancellor of the Confederation. Let us 
take the opportunity to remark that Count Bismarck has 
never been utterly wrong, as the Rhine paper, echoing the 
opinion of a Vienna paper, says he has, and that indeed he 
has never been wrong at all about the resistance of Paris. 
He was never asked about it, but we know from the best 
sources that he considered the taking of the city in less than 
several months a very difficult thing, and that he was against 
investing it before the fall of Metz." 

In the evening I read documents in the Bureau, and 
among them interesting reports from Bavaria. Afterwards 
a hint was sent to Elsass that the chief point at present was 
not to alleviate the misery of the country, or to reconcile 
the population to their approaching incorporation with 
Germany, but to secure the object of the war, which ic to 
be attained by a speedy peace, and by looking to the secu- 
rity of the troops. Accordingly, all French officials who will 
not place themselves at our disposal, and judges who are 
not willing to act under us, are to be sent into the interior 
of France. For the same reason, pensioners are not to be 
paid their pensions. Let them go to Bordeaux, and they 
will be much more eager for the conclusion of peace. 

In the evening at ten I telegraphed the successes of the 
first army against the Mobiles and the Francs-tireurs. After 


178 Bismarck in the Frmico-German War. [Chap. 

eleven I was again called to the Chief. Then I corrected 
a false representation of the situation before Paris, which 
had appeared in the Kreuz-Zeitwig. The people there 
seem to think that we are already bombarding the city. It 
is a mistake, and this generally well-informed paper is in 
error through its defective knowledge of the lie of the 
country round Paris. Our first business is with the forts, 
which are a good way outside Paris. To try to bombard 
the town across the forts would be as if somebody on the 
Miiggelsberg had forts of the size and strength of Spandau 
before him at Kopnik, and on the hills near Spandau, and 
were to try to bombard Berlin away across these fortifica- 
tions. We must take the forts first before we can fire into 
the town. Till that time only the suburbs, or parts of the 
city which it is no use to fire at, are v/ithin the range of our 

After tea, when I make my last entries in the diary, till 
nearly eleven, there is tolerably brisk firing from Mont 
Valdrien or from the gun-boats. 

Saturday, December 31. — Everybody here is out of sorts. 
I myself begin to be languid, and will have to cut down the 
nightwork my diary requires, or to break it off altogether for 
a couple of days. The severe frost, too, from which the fire 
protects one only partially, disinclines me to sit up long 
after midnight, as I have been in the habit of doing. 

Gambetta and his colleagues in Bordeaux grow every day 
more violent in their capacity of dictators. The Empire 
itself, against the arbitrary action of which they used to pro- 
test, was scarcely so despotic, and would hardly have set 
aside lawful institutions or arrangements as summarily or 
autocratically as these republicans of the purest water. 
MM. Cr^mieux, Gambetta, Glais-Bizoin, and Fourichon, 
issued a decree on December 25, in which, with reference 

XVI.] Africans for Germany. 179 

to previous notices, it is summarily enacted that " th,e 
General Councils and Councils of Arrondissement are 
dissolved, as well as the departmental commissions, where 
they have been established. For the general councils de- 
partmental commissions are to be substituted, which are 
to consist of as many members as the Department con- 
tains cantons, and are to be appointed by the Government 
on the proposal of the prefect." Where we are, naturally 
nothing of the kind will happen. I send the decree to 
be printed to the editors of the Moniteur. 

Monday, January 2. — The languor and the cold both 
continue. The Chief is still unwell. So are Hatzfeld 
and Bismarck-Bohlen. Gambetta's war a outra/tce is to be 
carried on now with the assistance of a sort of Arabian 
Francs-tireurs. What will M. de Chaudordy, who recently 
complained of us as barbarians to the Great Powers, say 
to the article in which the Indtfendance Algerienne explains 
the views these savage hordes entertain of what is permitted 
in war, or which it tries to inspire in them ? Several journals 
in France itself openly approve, for they have reprinted this 
absolutely brutal article without a word of remonstrance, 
and if they can venture to do so, we m^y assume that they 
reckon on the approval of their readers. I quote it as an 
evidence of the boiling heat which passionate hatred has 
reached in the hearts of a great number of our enemies. 
This outburst of fury of the African journalist, which many 
of his French brethren adopt, is as follows : — 

" The moment has come ! Let each of our provinces 
raise ten Gums of 200 men each ! They will be commanded 
by their Cadis and some officers from the Arabian bureaux. 
As soon as they are ready, these Gums will sail for Lyons, 
where they will be used as flying sharpshooters and scouts, 
a service which our light cavalry does not understand. 

N 2 

i8o Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Their first service will be to annihilate the Uhlans, or at 
least to frighten them, by cutting off a few heads. In two or 
three bodies, each of which must be supplied with a few 
German-speaking officers and subalterns, these brave chil- 
dren of the desert will throw themselves on the Grand 
Duchy of Baden, where they will burn down all the villages, 
and set fire to all the woods. It will be easy at present, as 
the leaves are dry. The Blatk Forest will light up the 
Rhine Valley with its flames. The Gums will then push 
forward into Wiirtemberg, where they will lay everything 
waste. The ruin of the countries in alliance with Prussia 
will doubtless precipitate the defeat and ruin of Prussia 

" The Gums carry with them nothing but their cartridges. 
Wherever they go they will take what they need to live 
upon. If they starve and ■ suffer thirst for several days 
they will burn down towns and villages. We shall say to 
these valiant sons of the prophet, ' We know you, we esteem 
your courage, we recognise that you are energetic, enter- 
prising, vehement. Go and cut off their heads ; the more 
heads you cut off the more highly we shall value you' 

" When the news of the invasion of these Africans is 
Carried into the enemy's country, a universal terror will run 
through all Germany, and the Prussian armies will rue the 
day they left their wives and daughters to pay the debts of 
their fathers and their husbands. Away with pity ! Away 
with feelings of humanity ! Neither pity nor mercy for our 
modern Huns ! This burst into Germany is the only thing 
to raise the siege of Paris. The Gums will rise to the 
height of their task. It is enough for us to lay the reins 
loose on their necks, and say to them, ^Murder, pillage, 
burn I' " 

The writer must be a pleasant person. Agreeable sug- 

XVI.] Concentration called for. i8i 

gestions, especially as French officers are, it is proposed, to 
lead these savages to the murder, pillaging, and incendia- 
rism they are to commit. And such Gums appear in reality 
to have already disembarked on French soil, for we saw a 
notice recently of the fortunate arrival of reinforcements 
from Africa. 

Tuesday, January 3. — The idea that the wide dispersion 
of. the German armies over the North and South- West has 
its dangers, and that concentration is called for finds sup- 
porters elsewhere also. The Vienna Presse, for instance, 
has just published a memoir from a military critic, which 
represents a concentration of our troops at present in France 
as essential if we want to avoid their being broken in detail, 
so as to hinder and diminish our offensive power. The 
author points to a concentration.of our troops within a circle 
of from seventy to ninety miles round Paris. Then the 
French armies, gathering together from all quarters to raise 
the siege, would be met and shattered by the whole force of 
the German armies. Even the gigantic and hitherto unin- 
terrupted streams of force which Germany has sent out, are 
not sufficient, says our military critic, simultaneously to do 
all the work which the Germans have undertaken. The 
wish to accomplish it all at the same time must lead to a dis- 
persion of the army corps full of all kinds of risks, a state 
of affairs the more serious as long marches in severe winter 
weather weaken and waste the men. The article accord- 
ingly warns us against large-looking military enterprises like 
advances on Havre and Lyons, and recommends the esta- 
blishment of entrenched camps at a suitable distance from 
Paris, and the destruction of the railroads outside the circle 
of these camps, so that the districts of France in the circum- 
ference not yet occupied by us should become incapable of 
communicating with each other except by shipping. 

1 82 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

This renunciation of any farther advance and concentra- 
tion of the German fighting power is recommended also by 
the National Zeitung, in an article which expresses even 
better than that I have quoted, the ideas of certain people 
here in Versailles. It is said there (in the number for De- 
cember 31) " The evacuation of Dijon and the non-occupation 
of Tours, to the very gates of which, it is well known that 
a division of the Tenth Army Corps had advanced, may, 
perhaps, indicate the views which ought to be decisively 
adopted on the German side, especially in the case of the 
war being continued. Perhaps it is not to be expected that 
France will give up her resistance after the fall of Paris, 
and accept the German conditions of peace. Certainly, we 
cannot reckon on it as assured, so that we must be prepared 
what to do in the opposite event. In any case, there cannot, 
after the fall of the city, be any regularly recognised Govern- 
ment supported bythe representatives of the nation with which 
conditions of peace can be settled with adequate guarantees 
of permanence. If the war is to go on, it is impossible that 
its object can be the complete subjugation of a country so 
extensive as France. Our armies might be as victorious as 
ever, and might destroy the fighting power of the enemy, 
but that would not suffice. We should have to establish a 
new civil government in every one of the conquered dis- 
tricts, and to see that it was obeyed by the inhabitants. In 
the strip of country between the Loire and the English 
Channel our troops are hardly numerous enough now to 
make intercourse everywhere secure, to sustain the dignity 
of a foreign administration in every town and village, to 
guard against assassinations and surprises, and, above all, to 
collect the taxes, as well as the contributions and levies 
which are the unavoidable consequences of war. To spread 
this net out immeasurably farther would overtax our mill- 

XVI.] Everybody unwell. 183 

tary power, highly as we may think of it ; and we at home 
should find the strain on the strength of our civilian staff 
which Such an attempt would necessitate too considerable. 
If peace, therefore, is not to be obtained immediately, our 
military authorities must see clearly what they are aiming at, 
and resolutely confine themselves to it. They must settle on 
a well-defined portion of French soil, which they must occupy 
in such force that we are able to hold it thoroughly in hand, 
and to keep it under our authority as long as we choose. 
This portion would include the capital and the best provinces, 
with the ablest and most warlike populations of France ; 
and it would naturally have to bear all the burdens and ex- 
penses of the war until a peace party grew strong enough 
throughout the country to impose its will on the authorities 
of the moment. The district to be held in military occupa- 
tion would have to be so bounded as to be militarily defens- 
ible with the least possible difficulty. Across this line there 
would naturally be expeditions every now and then for tem- 
pbraiy objects ; but the intention ought to be to abstain 
from permanently overstepping it. In the districts which 
Germany requires for the security of her frontier, the pro- 
cess of incorporation should go steadily forward without 
waiting for the conclusion of peace." 

Friday, January 6. — Till yesterday the cold was very 
intense, I believe as much as nine or ten degrees below zero. 
AVith it there was generally fog, which was particularly dense 
on Wednesday. The Chief has been unwell almost the 
whole week. Yesterday he drove out a little in the after- 
noon for the first time, and again to-day. Hatzfeld and 
Bohlen are ill. My own depression of spirits and disin- 
clination for work have only begun to diminish to-day, 
probably because I have had two nights of abundant sleep, 
and perhaps also on account of the improvement in the 

184 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

weather; for the mist, which changed this morning into 
hoar frost and hangs in sparkhng crystals on the branches 
of the trees, has been followed by a fine day, though portions 
of its withdrawing veil still hang about the wooded heights 
between this and Paris. Thus we commence a new life, like 
our guns, which have been doing little work these last few 
days on account of the mist, but which have begun to shoot 
away briskly enough. I may best insert here, perhaps, a few 
notes for my diary, which have been omitted. In the inter- 
val the Upper Governmental Councillor Wagner has been my 
fellow-worker in the office, and a Baron von Holnstein, who 
is, I believe, a secretary of legation, also came in. Among 
the articles I sent out during the last six days there was one 
on the measure which detached great numbers of railway 
carriages from the objects and necessities of German in- 
dustry for the purpose merely of bringing up provisions 
for the time when Paris, after being really starved out, will 
be compelled to surrender. I described such a proceeding 
as humane, but impracticable and impolitic, as the Parisians, 
when they learn they are provided for outside, will hold 
out till their last crust of bread or joint of horse, so that all 
our humanity will end only as a kind of contribution towards 
the protraction of the siege. It is not our business, by esta- 
blishing magazines or supplying means of transport for re- 
provisioning the city, to avert the danger of famine which " 
menaces the Parisians. It is their business to do so by 
capitulating at the proper time. Yesterday I translated into 
German for the King two English protests against the si ik- 
ing of English coal vessels at Rouen, which our troops hid 
considered a necessary measure. Early this morning I 
telegraphed, according to advices from the general staff, 
to London, that the result of the bombardment directed for 
three days past against the forts on the Eastern front, and 

XVI.] The German Railways and Paris. 185 

since yesterday also against those on the Southern front, has 
been very satisfactory, and that our loss is quite inconsider- 
able. Yesterday I again visited the officers of the 46th, who 
have established themselves in the farmhouse of Beauregard, 
and made themselves extremely comfortable with furniture 
which they have sent in from Bougival. To-day I visited with 
Wagner the point of view I have several times spoken of at 
Ville d'Avray, and from it we watched the bombardment. 
Wagner has found accommodation not far from us at the 
corner of the Rue de Provence and the Boulevard de la 
Reine, in the main door flat of a Frenchman, under all sorts 
of oil paintings. Paris seemed to be on fire in two places, 
and white clouds of smoke were rising. In tlie evening 
I read despatches and also minutes. It appears that 2800 
axles have been required from the German railway for 
waggons for collecting provisions for Paris. The Chief 
protested energetically against this measure as politically 
disadvantageous, seeing that the Parisian authorities, know- 
ing that provisions have been collected for them outside, can 
delay their surrender till the very last possible moment, by 
using up every scrap in the city. Bonnechose has, at the 
suggestion of the Pope, written a letter to King William, from 
whom he wants peace, an " honourable" peace, one. that is to 
say, without any surrender of territory, such as we might have 
' had twelve weeks since from M. Favre if the Chief had not 
preferred one that was advantageous. Prince Napoleon is 
to come to Versailles to mediate. He is a talented and 
estimable man, but not of much consideration in France. In 
the London Conference on the Black Sea question we are to 
support the Russian claims with all our strength. 

Saturday, January 7 . — We have now — perhaps have had 
for the last few days — a body-guard of bright green Land- 
wehr riflemen, oldish men with long wild beards. They are 

1 86 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

said to be all admirable shots. On the suggestion of H. 
that there might possibly be something found of political 
importance in Odillon Barrot's house at Bougival, Bucher and 
I took a carriage there this morning. The weather was dull 
and cold. Mist drizzled down on us. We first sought out H. 
at Beauregard to get him to describe to us the exact position 
of Barrot's villa. Our drive took us by all sorts of defence 
preparations, walls pierced with loop-holes for shot, half- 
wrecked country houses, a ruined nursery garden, and so on, 
down the hill of Saint-Cloud into the valley under La Celle, 
where the long street of Bougival lies with its pretty church. 
On the way through the town we were told we should see 
soldiers, as no civilian had been allowed to peep behind the 
windows of the houses, the population having had notice to 
quit after the last sortie, or the last but one, in this direction. 
In the middle of the village, where two streets cross 
at the little square, and where the Prussian sentry stood, 
we left the carriage, and asked the sergeant-major in com- 
mand to supply us with a soldier as guide and companion. 
We first passed the druggist's shop, frightfully wrecked ; near 
it a sentry had been posted to protect the entrance to the 
immense deposit of wines discovered here some weeks ago. 
We then crossed a strong barricade which bars the outlet of 
the street in this direction towards the Seine. It consists of 
barrels and casks filled with earth and stones, and all sorts 
of house furniture. Then we looked for the house of which 
we were in search, in the narrow street leading to Mal- 
maison. In it also there were several barricades with ditches, 
and the side lane which leads down from the middle of it 
to the left towards the river contained several more. The 
houses here, too, all of them unoccupied, and most of them 
damaged by shells, were prepared for defence. There was 
very little furniture left. We managed to pass the first bar- 

XVI.] Bojigival in Ruins. 1 87 

ricade in the street by going in on some boards, turning to 
the left through the window of the house next it, and out 
through the house door on the other side of the ditch of the 
barricade. We passed a second small fortification to the 
right in a similar way. 

Where the street opens on the high road by the river, 
the pavement of which was torn up, we saw before us a 
third system of barricades and ditches. It was the "musical'' 
barricade, described so frequently b y th e correspondents 
of German and foreign newspapexs, with no fewer than 
six cottage pianos stowed away in it. We could not 
look after them particularly, as at this point we dared not 
show our heads outside for fear of the Gauls on Mont 
VaMrien, who would have been ready for us immediately 
with half-a-dozen of their shells. Here I discovered, three 
or four houses further on, the little green balcony which H. 
had mentioned as indicating Barrot's house, for which we 
were looking, but we were not allowed to approach it in 
front, the sentry who was posted here allowing nobody 
to pass. So we had to work round^by the back, and a 
narrow foot-path between the houses and gardeas [enabled 
us to do so. In the steeply-sloped gardens behind the row 
of houses, all sorts of pieces of furniture were standing or 
lying about, and among them a desolate-looking chair in red 
plush, soaked through and througli with snow and rain, with 
only one leg left. Books and papers were strewn plentifully 
round. After entering several houses, every one of which 
was terribly wrecked, we found the one we were looking 
for. A board across a deep ditch conducted us first into 
a room for flowers. From it we passed into the library, 
which consisted of two rooms. There might be a couple 
of thousand volumes, most of them lying on the floor in 
confused masses, possibly the work of the Mobiles and the 

i88 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Francs-tireurs, who wrecked the surrounding neighbourhood 
before the investment of Paris. Many of them were torn 
or trodden under foot. Looking through the books, we saw 
that it had been a well-selected library, with books of history, 
politics, belles-lettres, and some English books ; but there 
was nothing of the description of what H. had conjectured 
we might find. 

When I got back to the Rue de Provence, I wrote -two 
articles, at the Chiefs direction, one of them a statement 
referring to a passage in the Kreuz-Zeitung, which is com- 
forting itself in a straggling sort of fashion about the delay 
in the bombardment. 

In the evening the Minister again dines with us. We 
learn that the fortress of Rocroy has fallen into our hands, 
and that the Saxon Minister, von Fabrice, has been ap- 
pointed governor-general of a district of country including 
six departments. At tea we learned that the bombardment 
of Paris, or rather of its forts, had begun on the North side, 
too, and with good results. , There had been conflagrations 
in Vaugirard and Crenelles, which, perhaps, might account 
for the smoke we saw rising yesterday from the hill-tops 
between Ville d'Avray and Sfevres. Keudell said that I 
should mention it to the Chief At a quarter past ten 
I went up to him. He thanked me, and asked, " "What 
time is it now?" I said, "It will soon be eleven, your 
Excellency." He replied, " Tell Keudell, then, to prepare 
the writing for the King about which I spoke to him." 

Sunday, January 8. — In the morning I telegraphed the 
victory at Vendome, and an account of the progress of 
the bombardment, and then wrote for the Moniteur a note 
on the lying spirit of boasting in which Faidherbe had once 
more claimed a victory over our troops, the fact being that 
he had been again compelled to retreat 

XVI.] Drunkenness in Paris., 189 

These last few days the Chief appears to be allowing his 
beard to grow. Delbriick tells us at breakfast that, in 1853, 
he was in North America,- and got as far as Arkansas. In 
the afternoon Prince Hohenlohe was with the Chief, to 
inform him of the progress and success of the bombardment, 
probably on account of his remonstrances. 

In the afternoon I read a report of La France on the state 
of health of Paris, and sent it to the Moniteur. According to 
it, the deaths in the week, from the nth to 17th December, 
rose to the enormous number of 2728. Smallpox and typhus 
especially had carried away many people. Mortification is 
extending in the hospitals. The doctors complain of the 
bad effects of alcoholism on the sick, which makes slight 
wounds serious, and which appears to be dreadfully common 
among the soldiers in Paris. Their statement concludes 
with these words : " On this occasion we must remark, as 
we have done so often, that the crime of drunkenness, in 
its grossest form (Ivrognerie Crapuleiise), is on the increase 
in Paris, and neither the doctors nor we need an order of 
the day signed by Trochu and Cle'merit Thomas to prove it, 
or to make us groan over it. Yes, we must say once more 
that the blush mounts to our foreheads when we see men 
every day, to whom the country has entrusted its defence, 
lowering and disgracing themselves by shameful potations. 
Can we wonder at all the unfortunate accidents which have 
happened through the careless use of guns, at the disorders, 
the insubordination, the deeds of violence, the plunderings 
and wreckings, which are reported every day by the public 
newspapers, at a time when the country is in mourning, 
when a hostile fate is heaping defeat after defeat on this un- 
fortunate land, and visiting us with redoubled blows without 
intermission and without pity ? People are indeed of a 
frivolous kind, who are simple enough to beheve that this 

1 90 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

frightful war will infallibly reform our manners and make 
new men of us." 

At dinner the Chief again spoke of his youth, especially 
of his earliest recollections, one of which related to the 
burning of the Berlin theatre. " I was then hardly three 
years of age. It was in the Gendarmes Market, on the 
Mohrenstrasse, opposite the Hotel de Brandebourg, at the 
corner of the street, one story up, that my parents then 
lived. I myself remember nothing of the conflagration, 
which I must have seen, but I know, perhaps only because 
I have often heard the story told, that we raised ourselves 
on the chairs and on my mother's sewing-table, a step or two 
in front of the windows. As the fire progressed I mounted 
up there, putting my hands on one side of the window- 
panes and pulling them back at once, because they were 
so hot. Afterwards I went to the right window, and it was 
just the same. I remember, too, that I once ran away 
because my elder brother had used me badly. I got as far 
as the Linden, where they caught me. I ought to have 
been whipped for it, but somebody interceded for me, and 
I got off." 

He then told us that from his sixth to his twelfth 
year he was in Plahmann's Institute, one of the educa- 
tional establishments on the principles of Pestalozzi and 
Jahn, and that he had nothing but unpleasant recollections 
of the time he wasted there. At that time an artificial 
Spartanism was the rule. He never had enough to eat, 
except when he was occasionally invited out. At the 
Institute they always got "elastic" flesh, not exactly hard, 
but so that the teeth could not easily manage it, and parsnips. 
" I would have been glad to eat them raw, but they were 
boiled; and there were hard potatoes in the dish, four- 
cornered bits," 

XVI.] Fish at Dinner. 191 

The conversation next turned on the luxuries of the table, 
and the Chief expressed himself vigorously about his likings 
for different kinds of fish. He always liked fresh lampreys. 
He Avas very fond of snipe-fish and Elbe salmon, just the 
proper mean between Baltic salmon and Rhine salmon 
" which is too fat for me." He then spoke of the dinners 
given at bankers' houses, where nothing is counted good 
unless it is dear. " They won't have carp, because in Berliii 
it is a moderately low-priced fish. They prefer perch, which 
cannot be brought there without difficulty." For my own 
part I don't care for perch, and I never liked Pomeranian 
salmon {Maraenen), the flesh of which is flabby. On the 
other hand, he could eat sea lampreys (Muraenen) &itT^ 
day : " I like them almost better than trout, and I don't care 
for any trout but those of moderate size, say half-pounders. 
The big ones, which are common in Frankfort at these 
dinners, and which usually come out of the Heidelberg 
Wolfspring, are not worth much, but they are dear enough, 
so that they must be on the table.'' 

The conversation then turned on the Arc de Triomphe at 
Paris, which was compared with the Brandenburg Gate. 
The Chief said that the latter was very fine in its way. 
" I have, however, advised them to remove the sentry-boxes 
at the side, so as to show it. It would then be reckoned even 
a finer thing than now, as it is shut in and partly hidden." 

While we were smoking our cigars, he said to Wagner, 
speaking of his old journalistic experiences : " I remember 
that my first newspaper article was upon hunting. I was then 
nothing more than a rough country squire. Somebody had 
written a spiteful article on hunting. My huntsman's blood 
warmed at this, and I set myself to and wrote an answer, 
which I forwarded to the editor, Altvater. It was unsuc- 
cessful. He answered me very politely, but said it did 

192 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

not suit, and he could not take it. I was in a rage that 
anybody should claim the right, or be allowed the privilege 
of attacking sportsmen without their being allowed to 
contradict him ; but that was the way at the time." 

In the evening I was told to send the following article 
from the Fran^ais to the English press and to the Mojiiteur : 
" From different quarters we are informed of acts of violence 
by certain battalions of the Mobilised National Guard, the 
proofs of which we hold at the disposal of General Clement 
Thomas. According to our accounts, these battalions have 
allowed themselves, at Montrouge and Arcueil, to wreck 
private houses, to break the window panes, to plunder the 
cellars, and needlessly to burn expensive pieces of furniture. 
In Montrouge a collection of rare copper-plate engravings 
was committed to the flames. Acts of this sort demand the 
interference of the authorities. General Trochu's proclama- 
tion of the 26th December, in which he announces the 
establishment of courts-martial, was placarded all over the 
neighbourhood of Paris. That threat of repressive measures 
ought surely not to be allowed to lie dormant in view of 
such plundering and insubordination.'' The article finally 
expresses a wish for an inquiry into the following incident : 
"On the 1 6th December the men of a battalion of the 
National Guard, then stationed at Arcueil, are said, on their 
way back to Paris, to have sold to shopkeepers in the 
neighbourhood a number of objects, the results of their 
plundering in that town. They were mostly copper kitchen- 
vessels." It would be well that people in Versailles and its 
neighbourhood, as well as in England, should know these 
facts, so that after the peace they may not charge these 
disorderly proceedings on our soldiers. 

Similarly, in the Moniteur, we have the report of an 
attendant on the sick from Thorn, who was made prisoner, 

XVI.] Prince Napolemis Plan. 193 

contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Convention, and 
who was afterwards spat upon in Lille, and threatened with 
death. I telegraplied to BerHn afterwards that our news- 
papers should remind the public that the elections for the 
Reichstag were to take place this month. 

The defence of the Luxemburg Government against the 
complaint we made of their breach of neutrality is not 
sufficient. It proves only that they are not themselves in 
a condition to maintain their neutraUty. Accordingly they 
are again warned, and new proofs to support our complaints 
are forwarded to them. If this is not sufficient, we shall 
certainly be compelled to occupy the Grand Duchy. 

Moiiday, January 9. — The weather was cold and foggy, 
and a good deal of snow fell. There was very little firing, 
either from our side or the enemy's ; but during the night 
our fire was very violent. We learn from London that 
Prince Napoleon is going about with a plan, proposing to 
sign a peace on his own authority, which we might accept, 
and after the capitulation' of Paris to summon the Senate 
and the Legislative Body, to lay the treaty of peace before 
them for ratification, and to ask them to vote upon it, on 
the form of the future Government, and ultimately on the 
future dynasty. 

Vinoy and Ducrot are said to be in favour of this plan. 
On the other hand, the Orleanists are moving, .and they 
hope to win Thiers to their side. 

In the afternoon I sent a telegram about the further 
successful progress of the bombardment. When I laid it 
before the Chief, he struck out the passage in which I had 
mentioned that our shells had fallen into the garden of the 
Luxembourg, as "impolitic." 

The following pleasant story is going the round of the 
newspapers. It first appeared in the Leipziger Tagebiatt, as 

VOL. II. o 

194 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

taken from a private letter of a German officer. " One day 
Adjutant-Major Count Lehndorfif paid a visit to Captain 
von Strantz, at the outposts in Ville d'Avray in Paris. He 
asked him how things were going, with him, and von Strantz 
answered, ' Capitally ; for I have just come from my dinner, 
where I have been eating my sixty-seventh leg of mutton.' 
The Count laughed, and after some time went away. Next 
day the guard brought the captain the following communica- 
tion : ' As his Excellency Chancellor Count Bismarck has 
been informed that Captain von Strantz is about to have 
his sixty-eighth leg of mutton this afternoon, he takes the 
liberty to send him four ducks for his dinner, as a little 
variety.' " This anecdote has the advantage over others in 
the newspapers, that it is substantially true, only the Count 
did not appear quite the next day. Lehndorff was dining 
with us some days before Christmas. 

The Chief again appeared at dinner, shaven as usual. He 
spoke first of Count Bill having received the Iron Cross, and 
he seemed to think that it would have been better to have 
given it to his elder son, who was wounded in the cavalry 
charge at Mars-la-Tour. " That was an accident," he re- 
marked ; " others who were not wounded may have been 
quite as brave, but it is a sort of compensation to the 
wounded. I remember when I was a young man, that a 
certain von R., who had received the Cross, used to go 
about Berlin. I wondered what he could have done, but I 
learned afterwards that he was the nephew of a Minister, 
and that he had been acting as equerry to the general staff. 

Delbriick remembered the man too, and told us that he 
had afterwards cut his throat, in consequence of an inquiry 
about difficulties in some bill transactions. 

" In Gottingen," the Chief went on, " I once called a 
student a ' Dumme Junge ' (a ' stupid fellow '). He demanded 

XVI.] Shooting Pheasants in self-defence. 19S 

an explanation, and I said that I had no wish to insult him, 
but merely intended to express my conviction as to the 

When the venison and sauer-kraut were on the table, 
somebody remarked that the Minister had not gone out 
shooting for a long time, though there was plenty of game 
in the woods between this and Paris. 

"Yes," he said; "but something always happened to 
interrupt me. The last time was at Ferriferes, when the 
King was away. He had forbidden us to shoot in the park. 
We went out accordingly, but not in the park, and there was 
plenty to shoot, but not much was shot, as either the cart- 
ridges or the fowling-pieces were poor." Holnstein, who 
usually shows himself an uncommonly estimable, most indus- 
trious, and serviceable person, thereupon remarked, " This 
is the way, your Excellency, that people tell the story. They 
say that you were well aware of his Majesty's command, 
and naturally anxious to respect it. You had gone out for a 
walk, when you had the misfortune to have three or four 
pheasants suddenly flying at your head, so that you were 
compelled to shoot them in self defence." , 

The French Rothschild was mentioned, and then we 
spoke of the German Rothschild, of whom the Chief told 
us a diverting story from his own experience. 

The conversation turned ultimately upon elegant literature. 
Somebody spoke of Spielhagen's Problematische Naturen, 
which the Chancellor had read, and of which he thought 
not unfavourably, remarking, " I will certainly, however, hot 
read it a second time. I have no time here for that." But 
even a much-occupied Minister may take a book in his 
hand, and allow himself the luxury of a couple of hours with 
it before he has to go back to his documents. Somebody 
then spoke of Councillor Freitag's Sollund Haben, and praised 


196 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the description of the Polish disturbance, and the accounts 
of the balls with the young girls, but the guests appeared to 
think his heroes insipid. Somebody said that they had 
no passion, somebody else that they had no soul. Abeken, 
who took eager part in the conversation, made the remark 
that he could not read any of these things twice, and 
that most of the better known new writers had published 
only one good book. " Well," said the Chief, " I will allow 
you that three-fourths of Goethe's works are good; I do 
not care for the rest, but I should not mind being shut up a 
long while on a desert island with seven or eight of his forty 
volumes." Finally, somebody spoke of Fritz Renter. " Yes," 
said the Minister, " Aus der Franzosenzeit is very pretty, but 
it is not a novel." Somebody then mentioned the Stromtid. 
" H'm," said he, " that is as one finds it ; that is certainly a 
novel — plenty that is good, much that is middling — but the 
country people are exactly as they are described there." 

In the evening I translated a long article from the Times 
for the King, going into full details about the situation in 
Paris. Afterwards, at tea-time, Keudell spoke cleverly — and 
indeed, charmingly — about certain qualities in the Chan- 
cellor which reminded him of Achilles — his genial, youthful 
nature; his easily excited temperament; the deep sym- 
pathies which he not infrequently manifests ; his inclination 
to take himself away from the pressure of business, and his 
victorious way of carrying things through. Certainly, we had 
Troy still with us, as well as Agamemnon, the shepherd of 
the people. 

After eleven I was again called to the Chief, and tele- 
graphed further results of the bombardment. 

Tuesday, January 10. — The cold was moderate, and it 
was cloudy, so that one could not see far ; sky and earth 
were filled with snow. Only now and then a shot was to 

XVI.] International Societies. 197 

be heard from our batteries, or from the forts. Count Bill 
was with us, and about one o'clock in the day General 
Manteuffel. They were passing through to the army which 
is to operate in the south-east against Bourbaki, and which 
Manteuffel is to command. 

In the afternoon I telegraphed twice to London^ — the 
retreat of Chanzy upon Le Mans, with the loss of 1000 men 
in prisoners, and Werder's successful resistance against the 
overwhelming forces of the French, who were pressing for- 
ward to the relief of Belfort, and attacked him at Villersexel. 
At dinner we spoke first of the bombardment, and the Chief 
said that most of the Paris forts, with the exception of Mont 
Valdrien, were little worth, hardly better than the fortifica- 
tions at Diippel. The fosses, for instance, were only of 
moderate depth, and the enceinte^ too, used to be very weak. 

The conversation then turned upon the International 
Peace Association, and its connection with the Social De- 
mocracy, the head of which, for Germany, was Karl Marx in 
London. Bucher said that he was a very able man, with a 
good scientific training, and was the real leader of the 
International Workmen's Society. Speaking of the Inter- 
national Peace Association, the Chief said that its efforts 
were of very serious importance, and that its real objects 
were altogether different from peace. Communism was 
hiding behind it. 

The conversation then turned to Count Bill, and the 
Chief remarked, " He appears at a distance like an elderly 
staff officer, he is so stout.'' Somebody spoke of his 
luck in being ordered to accompany Manteuffel. It would 
only be a temporary position for both of them, but he 
would see a great deal of the war. " Yes," said the Chief, 
" He is learning something for his age. In our days not 
much could be learned at eighteen. I would have needed 

igS Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

to have been born in 1795 to have had the chance of fighting 

in 1 8 13. Since the battle at " (I could not catch the 

name, but it was some battle during the wars of the Hugue- 
nots that appeared to be meant), " there is not one of my 
ancestors who has not drawn sword against France : my 
father, for instance, and three of his brothers, and my 
grandfather at Rossbach. My great-grandfather fought 
against Louis XIV., and his father also against Louis XIV., 
in the battles on the Rhine, in 1672 or 1673. Several 
of us fought in the Thirty Years' War, on the Em- 
peror's side, and others for the Swedes. Finally, there 
was one who was with the Germans who fought for the 
Huguenots as hired troops. One of them — his portrait is at 
Schonhausen — was an original. I have a letter from him to 
his brother-in-law, in which he says : — ' The cask of Rhine 
wine has cost me thirty reichsthalers. If my brother-in-law 
thinks it too dear, I will, so may God preserve me, drink 
every drop of it myself.' Then again, ' If my brother-in- 
law asserts so-and-so, I hope I may, so may God preserve 
me, get some day closer to him than he will like,' and in 
another place: ' I have spent 12,000 reichsthalers on the 
regiment, and I hope, so may God preserve me, to get it 
back in time.' As for this getting back, he probably meant 
it in this way, that people used then to be paid for the 
soldiers who were absent with leave, and for those who had 
not yet presented themselves with their regiments. Cer- 
tainly the commander of a regiment was in a different 
position in those days." Somebody said that the same thing, 
perhaps, happened nearer our own time, as long, in fact, as 
the regiments were levied, paid, and clothed by the colonel, 
and only hired by the Prince, and the practice might pos- 
sibly still prevail here and there. The Chief answered, 
" Yes, in Russia, for example, in the big cavalry regiments 

XVI.] How Russian Officers used to live. 199 

in the southern districts, which often consist of sixteen 
squadrons. There were there, as there still are, other 
sources of revenue. A German once told me this. He 
had been appointed to a regiment, I beheve somewhere in 
Kursk or Woronesch, one of those rich districts. The 
farmers came to him with carts laden with straw and hay, 
and hoped their ' little father ' would graciously receive 
them. ' I did not know,' said he, ' what they wanted, so I 
sent them away, and told them to leave me quiet and go 
about their -business.' Surely their ' little father ' would be 
reasonable. His predecessor had been quite contented 
with this ; they could not give more ; they were poor people. 
At last I took the whole of it, especially as they pressed me. 
They fell on their knees, and entreated me most graciously 
to keep it, and then I drove them away. When others 
came, with waggons laden with wheat and oats, I understood 
them, and took the present as others took it, and when the 
forrner people came back with more bay, I told them that 
they had misunderstood me, that what they had given me 
before was sufficient, and that they had better take home 
what they now brought. In this way, as I charged the hay 
and the oats to the Government for the troops, I made my 
20,000 roubles yearly.' He told me this quite openly and 
unblushingly in a company at Petersburg, and I had nothing 
to do but to wonder at him." " Yes, but what could he 
have done to the farmers ? " asked Delbriick. " Done ? " 
said the Chief, " he could have done nothing ; but he could 
have let them be ruined in another way; he had only to 
allow the soldiers to do anything they liked." 

The conversation came back to Manteuffel, and somebody 
said that he had broken his leg at Metz, and made himself 
be carried into the battle. He had wondered a good deal, 
somebody remarked, that nobody knew anything about 

200 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

it- here. Certainly, he must have thought how badly we 
were informed about the chief events of the war. "I 
remember," said the Chief, in the course of further conversa- 
tion, " once sitting with Manteuffel and " (name unintelli- 
gible) " on the stone before the church at Beckstein. The 
King came past, and I proposed to greet him as the three 
witches did : ' Hail, Thane of Lauenburg ! All hail. Thane of 
Kiel ! All hail, Thane of Schleswig ! ' It was at the time 
I concluded the Treaty of Gastein with Blome. That was the 
last time in my life that I played piquet, though I had given 
up play a long while before. I played so recklessly that the 
rest could not help wondering at me, but I knew quite well 
what I wanted. Blome had heard that piquet afforded the 
best possible opportunity for discovering a man's real nature, 
and he wanted to try it on with me. I thought to myself. You 
shall have your chance. I lost a couple of hundred thalers, 
which I would have been honestly entitled to have charged 
as spent in the service of his Majesty. I put him all wrong ; 
he considered me a reckless fellow, and gave way." 

The conversation then turned to Berlin, and somebody 
remarked that it was growing year by year more of a great 
city, even in its ways of thinking and feeling, and that 
that must have some effect upon its representatives in 
Parliament. " During these last five years they have certainly 
changed greatly," said Delbriick. " That is true," said the 
Chief. " In 1862, when I first had to do with these gentle- 
men, if they had known the degree of heat to which my 
contempt for tjiem rose, they would certainly never have . 
forgiven me." 

The conversation then turned to the subject of the 
Jews, and the Minister wanted to know why the name 
Meier was so common among them. It was of German 
origin, and signified landowner in WestphaUa, whereas the 

XVI.] Jewish Names. 201 

Jews formerly had no land anywhere. I replied, " I beg 
your Excellency's pardon, but the name comes from the 
Hebrew. It is in the Old Testament, and in the Talmud, 
and signifies properly Meir, something connected with gold, 
light, splendour, so that it signifies something like the 
enlightened, the illustrious, the magnificent." The Chief 
went on to say, " Then there is the name Kohn, which is 
very common among them ; what may that mean ? " I 
replied that it meant a priest, which was originally Kolien. 
" From Kohen came Kohn, Kuhn, Cahen and Kahn, and 
Kohn or Kahn sometimes got transformed into Hahn '' (a 
cock), a remark which occasioned some merriment. " Yes,'' 
said the Minister ; " but I am of opinion that they are 
improved by crossing. The results are not bad." He 
mentioned several noble families, and remarked, " All 
of these are clever and cultivated people." After a little 
musing, and omitting something he had said between, which 
probably referred to the marriage of Christian girls of dis- 
tinguished families, German baronesses and so on, with 
rich or talented Jews, he proceeded to say : " Probably it 
is better the other way, when, for instance, the Christian 
horse of the German breed is mated with a Jewish mare. 
The money then circulates, and the race produced is not a 
bad one. I do not know what I may advise my sons to do 
some day." 

The Roumanians appear to be in the greatest perplexity, 
but the Powers will not help them. England and Austria are at 
least indifferent. The Porte is not convinced that the union 
of the principalities would not be injurious to it. France is 
at present out of the question. The Emperor Alexander 
has a very kindly feeling to Prince Charles, but will not 
meddle in the business, and there is certainly no interfer- 
ence to be expected from Germany, which has no vital 

202 Bismarck itt the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

interest in Roumania. If, therefore, the Prince cannot 
help himself out of his trouble, the best thing he can do will 
be to draw back before he is compelled. 

Beust appears to have entered into a new phase of his 
political way of looking at things in the despatch in which 
he replied to the notification of the impending union of the 
German South with the North, and it is possible that under 
his advice satisfactory relations may be developed and 
maintained between the two newly organised powers of 
Germany and Austro-Hungary. 

About half-past ten the Chief comes down to tea, which 
Count Bill also drinks with us. Abeken returns from Court, 
and brings the news that the fortress of P^ronne has capitu- 
lated, with its garrison of 3000 men. The Chief, who was 
at the time looking at the Jlhistrirte Zeitung, sighed, and 
said, " Three thousand more ! they might at least have 
drowned the commandant in the Seine, remembering the 
fact that he broke his word of honour." The remark gave 
rise to a conversation about the numerous prisoners in 
Germany, and Holnstein said it would be a good thing if 
they could be let out to Strousberg for the railways he is 
constructing. "Or if," said the Chief, "the Emperor of 
Russia could be induced to settle them in military colonies 
in the Empire on the other side of the Caucasus. They 
would become admirable properties. These crowds of 
prisoners will certainly cause us serious perplexity after 
the peace. They will then have an army ready made, and 
soldiers who have had time to rest. We can do nothing 
more for them but present them with Napoleon, who needs 
200,000 Praetorians to maintain himself in power." " Does 
he really then expect to come back as the governor of 
the country?" Holnstein asked. "Very much so," said 
the Chief; " extraordinarily so, enormously so. He thinks 

XVI.] The Empress and Peace. 203 

day and night of nothing else, and the EngHsh do the 

Finally, somebody told us what had happened in Spandau, 
where people from the English embassy had behaved them- 
selves improperly, and at last violently, in front of the place 
where the French prisoners were kept in charge, and had 
got badly out of the affair. 

Wednesday, January 11. — The weather was again less 
foggy, and the cold moderate. During the night there was 
heavy firing. In the morning afterwards, and for most of 
the day, the thunder of the heavy guns on both sides was 
very loud ; those on ours apparently from new batteries, 
one of which is between Saint-Cloud and Meudon. Several 
times I counted more than twenty shots a minute, but the 
echo might make the number seem larger. 

The Minister got up before 9 o'clock. In the morning 
several telegrams were sent off about the bombardment 
of Paris, and the battles of Le Mans, and two articles were 
written, one defending Beust against the reproach of double 
dealing which the Vaterlajid in Vienna had raised against 
him, founded on a comparison between his despatch to 
Wimpffen and articles hostile to Prussia in the official news- 

It is said that Clement Duvernois, who was formerly 
one of Napoleon's ministers, is coming here to treat for 
peace in the name of the Empress. She is said to admit 
the principle of territorial compensation and of the boundary 
which we want. She will consent to pay the costs of the 
war, and allow us to occupy certain portions of France with 
our troops in pledge for the money, and she will promise to 
enter into no negotiations for peace with any power but 
Germany. Duvernois believes that though she is not popu- 
lar, she will show energy, and as lawful regent will have a 

204 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

better position and will give us more security than any 
person who might be chosen by the representatives of the 
country and who would necessarily be entirely dependent 
upon them. Is he to be received or not ? Perhaps he may, 
so that the authorities in Paris and Bordeaux may note the 
fact, and be more ready on their part to decide to give in. 

After three o'clock we went to our post of observation on 
the roof of the country house between Sfevres and Ville 
d'Avray, to watch the bombardment. One sees there clearly 
the flashes of the guns in the French battery at the railway 
viaduct. We came back by a field way, which took us 
first over the ridge to the left from the valley of Ville d'Avray, 
and then past the frozen pond. Not far from the latter, 
where the road goes down the hill again, a herd of five roe- 
deer sprang up suddenly from a cover in the snow. 

During dinner we spoke first, as we usually do now, about 
the bombardment, and somebody said that there was a 
conflagration in Paris. Somebody else remarked, that thick 
clouds of smoke could be distinctly seen there. The Chief 
said, "That is not enough; one must first smell it here. 
The conflagration at Hamburg could be smelt twenty miles 

Somebody then mentioned the opposition of the " patriots " 
in the Bavarian Chamber to the Versailles Convention, and 
the Chancellor said, " I wish I could go there and speak 
with them ; they have obviously lost their way, and cannot 
get either forward or backward. I should soon bring them 
right again, but one is so necessary here." 

Afterwards he -spoke of all sorts of hunting adventures of 
his own — one, for instance, in Russia, where Holnstein had 
scared away a bear which he had rashly shot at ninety 
paces. Afterwards the bear had come up to within twenty 
paces, and ogled the Chief. " I managed, however," he 

XVI.] Firing at the Hospitals. 205 

continued, " to shoot the brute so badly with a conical 
bullet, that he was afterwards found dead a little bit off." 

Thursday, January 12. — In the morning, after seven 
o'clock, I went with Wollmann and MacLean to Ville 
d'Avray, but we saw little on account of the fog. We had 
fourteen degrees of frost. About midday it cleared up, and 
there was heavy firing again. The conversation at dinner 
turned first upon the performances of our siege artillery 
against the town. Somebody remarked, that the French 
complained that we aimed at their hospitals, but the Chief 
said, " Certainly that is not done on purpose. There are 
hospitals of theirs at the Pantheon, and the Val de Grace^ 
where a shot or two might have accidentally fallen. H'm ! 
Pantheon ? Pandemonium." 

Abeken said he had heard that the Bavarians intended to 
storm one of the forts on the south-east, where our fire was 
very feebly answered. The Chief was pleased, and added, 
"If I were now in Munich among the deputies, I could 
easily put it before them so that they would make no more 
difficulties." Somebody said that it was believed that the 
King preferred the title " Emperor of Germany " to that of 
"German Emperor," and it was remarked that the former 
would be a new title which, at all events, had no historical 
basis. Bucher dwelt a great deal upon that point. He said 
that there had never been an Emperor of Germany, and, 
that indeed, there had been no German Emperor either, 
only a German King. Charles the Great had called himself 
" Imperator Romanorum," but afterwards the name given to 
the Cffisars had been " Imperator Romanus semper 
Augustus," Enlarger of the Empire, and German King. 
The Chief so expressed himself as to show that he at- 
tached little importance to the difference between the 

2o6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

In the evening, after nine o'clock, it looked as if a great 
conflagration had burst out in Paris towards the North. 
There was a peculiar " shine " beyond the wood, and flames 
above the horizon in that direction. Several of the gentle- 
men came out to see it. Holnstein looked out of the window 
in the cook's room, and believed that the city was really 
burning ; so did WoUmann, but it was probably a mistake, for 
the " shine " was not red, but whitish. The Chief, who called 
me up to him to give me an order, and whom I told about 
the appearance, said, " It is possible ; I had already remarked 
it, but it seemed to me to be more like the shine from snow. 
One must first smell it." 

Afterwards, I made an extract for the Moniteur from 
Braun's dissertation on France, and the rights of nations. It 
was something of this sort : 

The war has been conducted on the German side with a 
desire to treat France with the greatest consideration. We 
have acted upon the Convention of Geneva, though the 
French have violated it in a frightful and horrible way, 
especially by their neglect and ill-usage of our wounded, 
and by plundering the sanitary columns. Sheridan won- 
dered that the conqueror allowed himself to be plundered by 
the conquered, by paying patiently and readily the enormous 
prices demanded by the population for what he wanted. 
On the other side, English correspondents declare that the 
war is assuming more and more the character of a war of 
annihilation, like those of the Middle Ages. If it is so, 
the French alone are to blame. The King said at the 
beginning of the war in his proclamation, that he was going 
to wage it only against the armed power of France, not 
against its peaceful citizens. From these words it has been 
attempted to infer that we ought only to have fought against 
the Empire and not against the Republic, in presence of 

XVI.] Peaceful Citizens and Soldiers. 207 

which it is supposed to have been our duty to lay down our 
arms. As for the peaceful citizens, the Franc s-tireurs and 
tliose who support them are certainly not peaceable citizens. 
All the authorities on the law of nations, from Vattel to 
Bluntschli and Haller, agree in this, that the considerate 
treatment of the peaceable population rests on the assump- 
tion that an absolutely distinct line of demarcation is drawn 
between soldiers and civilians, and that the civilian abstains 
from those hostile acts which are the duty of soldiers. What 
the soldier must do the civilian must not do, and if he takes 
hostUe action against the foreign troops invading his country, 
he loses the rights of a civilian without acquiring those of 
the soldier. When the soldier is no longer in a condition to 
do injury, he can demand to be treated mercifully, but the 
civilian who kills without being bound to do so, and who 
thereby wipes out the line of demarcation, cannot be dis- 
armed except by death. The condition of a prisoner of 
war does not exist for him ; he must be annihilated in the 
interests of humanity. At the very moment when King 
WiUiam was beginning the war with the declaration, " I 
wage war against the armies of the enemy and not against 
peaceful citizens," Prince Joinville published an appeal to 
the French peasantry, in which he called upon them to 
destroy our soldiers by assassination. 

About eleven o'clock at night the King sends the Chief a 
bit of letter paper, with the words writteii in pencil that we 
have just had a great victory at Le Mans. The Minister, 
who was obviously touched and delighted at this attention, 
handed me the paper, so that I might telegraph the news, 
saying, " He thinks that the military authorities would not 
have sent it to me ; that is why he writes himself." 

Afterwards I prepared for the King an article from the 
Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, giving an account of Roon's 

2o8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

jubilee. Before going to bed, we learned that a breach had 
already been noticed in Fort Issy. 

Friday , January 13. — Mist in the morning, and blue sky 
after twelve o'clock. There was heavy firing. Harless 
applied to the Chief with a petition on behalf of the Lutheran 
church, concluding with a request, that in consequence 
of an illness which has again attacked him, he should be 
allowed soon to lay down his pilgrim's staff. He and his 
party want an orthodox Lutheran German National Church, 
that is to say, that he is an enemy of the union, and accord- 
ingly of Prussia, which is for the union. Recently he has 
taken part with the Catholic bishops. -His object is a 
Protestant Pope, and he would like the place himself. 

The delegation in Bordeaux has made an attempt to 
induce the Pope to offer his mediation for peace ; and at 
Rome they do not seem disinclined to take the matter up, 
as they believe they might give it such a turn that the Pope 
might come by his own again. 

After three o'clock I took a walk with Wagner through 
the park. At dinner we had the Government president, 
von Ernsthausen, a large-built man, still young. The Chief, 
who had to dine later with the Crown Prince, stayed with us 
only till the Varzin ham came on the table, saying : " Give 
me a little ; as I am here I must help you to eat it. It 
Wives me home feelings." He said to Ernsthausen : " I am 
invited to dine with the Crown Prince. As I have an 
important discussion before me, I am strengthening myself 
for it. To-day is the 13th, and a Friday. Sunday is the 
iSth, so the 1 8th is Wednesday. That is the great day, 
and the proclamation to the German people about the 
Emperor and the Empire, on which Bucher is now at work, 
will then be issued." 

Turning to Ernsthausen, he said : " The King still has 

XVI.] Tweedledum and Tweedledee. 209 

his difficulties between German Emperor and Emperor of 
Germany, but he rather inclines to the latter. I cannot see 
much difference between the two. It is a little like the 
question of the Homousians and the Homoiusians, in the 
days of the Councils." Abeken corrected him : " Homou- 
sians.'' The Chief said : " We call it ' oi ' in our parts. 
In Saxony they are provincials. I remember that somebody 
at our school from Chemnitz read in this way" (and he 
quoted a Greek sentence). " The master said, ' Stop. JVo. 
We don't speak here as you do in Saxony.' " 

In the evening new despatches came in, and old minutes 
were read over. The Chief came back at 9.30 from the 
Crown Prince, and told me to telegraph that at Le Mans 
we had made 18,000 French prisoners, and captured twelve 
guns, and that Gambetta, who wanted to be present at the 
battle, nearly fell into our hands. He managed, however, 
to escape in good time. 

Afterwards, .Unruh's speech upon the deficiency of 
locomotives on the German railways was made ready for 


210 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



Saturday, January 14. — Moderately cold ; the weather in 
the morning somewhat foggy, tolerably clear towards mid- 
day, but so bad later on that one cannot see ten yards 
in front of one. The firing, both from the forts and the 
town, goes on without a break from morning till evening. 
At night we repulsed a sally of the Parisians, directed 
against the troops of the Eleventh Army Corps stationed at 
Meudon, the Bavarians at Clamart, and the Guards at Le 
Bourget. I despatched several telegrams, then wrote an 
official letter to M., and, as usual, read newspapers for 
the King and the Chief. After breakfast, where we heard 
that yesterday's sally had ended in places with the hasty 
flight of the French, and that the southern forts had well 
nigh ceased to reply to our fire, I took another walk with 
Wagner in the park behind the castle. 

Count Lehndorf dined with us. The Chief told us he 
had heard from Jules Favre. He wished to go to the Con- 
ference in London, and declared he had only heard on the 
loth that a safe-conduct would be provided for him. He 
would like to take out with him an unmarried daughter, a 
married daughter, with her husband, with a Spanish name, 
and a secretary. What he would like best would be a 
pass " for the minister and suite." He was not, however, 
to have any pass, but the military authorities were simply to 
be instructed to let him through. . Bucher is to write to him 

XVII.] Jicles Favres proposed journey. 211 

that his best way will be to go by way of Corbeil^ so 
as not to have to leave his Paris carriage, have to walk 
some way, and then take another carriage. He had also 
better go to Metz by Lagny, instead of Amiens. Should 
he not wish to go by Corbeil, would he say so ? Other 
instructions should then be given to the military. " As for 
his wish to travel with his family," added the Chief, " one 
would almost think that he wanted to make his escape.'' 

In the course of further conversation the- Minister ob- 
served : " Versailles is just the most unfit place possible 
for the conduct of business. We had better have stayed in 
Lagny or Ferribres. But I know very well why : many people 
who have nothing to do would have been bored to death 
there. For the matter of that, such people are bored here 
and would be so, anywhere." 

In the evening I wrote an article upon the difficulties of 
victualUng Paris after its surrender, which was to appear in 
thQ Moniteur. " We find," so it runs " in the Journal Officiel, 
the following paper on the victualling of Paris : ' From 
a Bordeaux despatch, dated January 3, it appears that the 
Government of National Defence have collected consider- 
able stores of provisions in view of the revictualling of Paris. 
Besides the articles comprised in the regulations, for which 
arrangements are being made, the stores of provisions 
already delivered, massed close to the transport waggons 
outside the range of the enemy's operations, and ready 
to be sent off at the first signal, consist of the following : 
more than 15,000 head of cattle, more than 40,000 sheep, 
which, thanks to the foresight of the authorities, are penned 
at the railway stations ; and more than 300,000 (metrical) 
hundredweights of food of all kinds, which are stored in 
magazines and belong to the State. These supplies are ■ 
destined solely for the revictualling of Paris.' 

p 2 

212 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" When we come to consider this attempt at revictualhng 
from a practical point of view, we encounter serious diffi- 
culties. If the assertion of the Journal Officiel, that the 
magazines stand beyond the range of the German operations, 
is well founded, one must assume a distance of at least 
one hundred and forty miles. But the condition to which 
the French themselves have reduced the railways which run 
into Paris is such that it would take at least several weeks 
to bring these provisions into the city. Nor must it be 
forgotten that besides the starving population of Paris, the 
German army has also a right to have its supplies recruited 
by means of the railways, so that with the best will in the 
world, the German authorities could not allow more than a 
portion of the railway material to be used for the revictualhng 
of Paris. It follows, therefore, that if the Parisians, in view of 
the possibility of considerable stores of victuals becoming in 
■ the end available to them, should put off their surrender of 
the city till their last crust has been devoured, their inaccurate 
estimate of the state of matters would expose them to severe 
disappointment. The Government of National Defence 
should therefore give most careful consideration to the 
circumstances of the case, and not leave out of sight the 
grave responsibility they undertake in carrying out their 
principle of resistance to the uttermost. The distance 
between the armies raised in the provinces, whose approach 
is so impatiently expected, and Paris, utterly blockaded 
and cut off, does not diminish, but increases day by day. 
It is not lying reports that will save Paris. The calculation 
that to hold out to the last was feasible on the simple 
ground that neither the provinces nor the enemy would give 
over a city of two and a half milUons of inhabitants to the 
pangS' of hunger, might break down in the face of inexorable 
impossibilities, and the capitulation of Paris might at the very 

XVII.] Boxwood over the Bedhead, 2 1 3 

last moment (which God forbid) be the beginning of a really- 
terrible calamity." 

Sunday, January 15. — The weather is moderately clear 
and cold. Fewer shots are heard than during the last few days. 
The Chief passed a sleepless night, and had Wollmann 
awakened by four o'clock, in order to telegraph to London 
about Favre. Andrassy, the prime minister of Hungary, 
has declared that he not only shares the view of matters 
expressed in Count Beust's despatch on the New Germany, 
but has always been in favour of this policy and recom- 
mended it. The reservation in the preamble of that document 
might have been omitted, as the new organisation of Germany 
does not violate the treaty of Prague. The letters in which 
the German princes assent to the proposals of the King of 
Bavaria regarding the restoration of the Imperial dignity, 
express nearly the same sentiments. Only Reuss was 
incUned to explain his consent in a somewhat different way. 
On the side of Bavaria pretensions are put forward which 
cannot at all be admitted. 

The Chief dines to-day with the King. In our party 
nothing worth notice was said at table. 

Bamberg, who comes every evening after news for the 
Moniteur, explains to me the meaning of the branch of box- 
wood on the wall over my bed. It is consecrated in the 
church on Palm Sunday, and remains in its place all the year 
round. It serves, probably, as a safeguard against illnesses, 
evil spirits, and witches, and so plays its part in the popular 
superstitions of the French. . . . The Chief calls for me at 
nine o'clock. I am to make an article from the official reports 
on our position towards American ships laden with contra- 
band of war. The point lies in the thirteenth article of the 
treaty of 1799. We cannot capture these ships, but can only 
detain them while the war lasts, or have the contraband 

214 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

goods handed over to us on our giving a receipt. In either 
case we must pay a moderate compensation. The paper 
was written forthwith and deposited in the letter-box of 
the office. 

Monday, January 1 6. — A thaw, the sky cloudy, with a 
high south-west wind. The view is clearer again, but since 
yesterday evening not a shot has been heard. Has the 
bombardment ceased ? or does the wind blow away the 
report of the shots ? 

In the morning I read Trochu's letter to .Moltke, in which 
he complains that our fire in the south of Paris has struck 
hospitals and asylums, although these are distinguished by 
flags. He thinks this cannot be by chance, and refers to the 
international treaties, by which these establishments are in- 
violable. Moltke has defended himself stoutly against any 
idea of design. The humanity with which we have carried 
on the war, so far as the character which has been given 
to it by the French since the 4th of September allows 
us to be humane — protects us against such a suspicion. 
So soon as the air clears, and the distance between our 
batteries and Paris enables us to distinguish the Geneva 
flags on the buildings in question, even chance injuries 
will be avoided. Later on, we learn by telegraph of the 
pursuit of Chanzy by our troops. Before noon a telegram 
is despatched, telUng of the capture of the camp at Conlie, 
and the successful resistance offered by General von Werder, 
south of Belfort, to the overwhelming superiority of four 
French corps. 

Prince Pless and Maltzahn dined with us. We learn that 
the proclamation to the German people is to be read out 
to-morrow on the occasion of the festival, which will take 
place in the grand reception-room of the Palace here. The 
King will be hailed as Emperor in presence of a brilliant 

XVII.] Fox in the Hole. 215 

assemblage. Deputations, with banners, from the army, the 
Generals, the Chancellor of the Confederation, and a number 
of Princes will be there. We hear, too, that the Chancellor 
has changed his mind about letting Favre out of Paris, and 
has written him a letter, which is practically a refusal. The 
Chancellor says : " Favre seems to me with his request to 
be allowed to attend the conference in London, just like 
children in the game of ' Fox in the hole.' They shut the 
door to, and then contrive to come out at a place where 
you cannot do them any harm (like the ' pax ' in our Dresden 
game of ' Last man '). He m ust eat the soup he has 
crumbled his bread in. I have written to him that his 
honour requires it." Possibly this change of mind may 
have been caused by an article in Gambetta's organ, Le 
Sikk, printed also in the Nord-Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 
and marked for him. It was to the eflfect that the permission 
to Favre to go to London amounted to a recognition of the 
present French government on our part.* The article went 
to the King and to London. 

In the evening I saw the correspondence between Favre 
and the Chancellor. 

I insert here a rksume of this affair, based on documents 
afterwards made public. 

On the 17 th of November, Favre, as Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, learnt from a despatch dated Tours, November 11, 
and forwarded by Chaudordy, that news had come from 
Vienna that the Russian Government considered itself no 
longer bound by the Treaty of 1856. Favre at once replied, 
recommending strict reserve until the arrival of official 

* This supposition was wrong. The Chancellor changed his mind 
because of Favre's circular on January I2. 

2i6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

information, and pointing out how, witliout neglecting to 
assert the claims of France on every opportunity, she 
must be invited to the discussion of the Russian declara- 
tion. Communications on the subject, both by word of 
mouth and in writing, then passed between the different 
Powers and the Provisional Government of Paris, in which 
the French tried hard to induce the representatives of the 
other Powers to admit, that the French representative 
at the Conference would be bound to open a discussion 
of quite other importance (than that upon the Treaties 
of 1856), in respect to which they were not disposed to 
give any negative reply. The Delegation at Tours shared 
this opinion, though it thought that the invitation of Europe 
to the Congress, if one were to take place, must be assumed, 
even though neither a pledge nor an armistice had been 
obtained beforehand. Gambetta wrote to Favre on the 31st 
December i " You must be prepared to leave Paris to attend 
the London conference if, as is asserted, England has suc- 
ceeded in obtaining for you a safe-conduct." Before these 
lines were received, Favre had told Chaudordy that the 
Government had decided that France, " if she were invited 
in regular form,'' should be represented at the London 
conference, provided that the Parisian deputy could procure 
from England, who had sent a verbal invitation, the neces- 
sary Safe-conduct. This was undertaken by the English 
Cabinet, and Chaudordy informed Favre of the fact in a 
despatch which reached Paris on January 8, adding also 
that he, Favre, had been appointed by the Government to 
represent France at the conference. This communication 
was confirmed in a despatch written to Favre by Lord 
Granville under date December 29, which reached Paris on 
January 10. It ran as follows : 

"M. de Chaudordy has informed Lord Lyons that your 

XVII.] Lord Grativille and the Passport. 217 

Excellency proposes to represent France at the conference, 
and he has begged me to procure a safe-conduct for 
your Excellency through the Prussian lines. I at once 
requested Count Bernstorff to ask for this safe-conduct and 
to have it conveyed to yourself by the hands of a German 
officer sent under a flag of truce. Herr von Bernstorff 
yesterday informed me that a safe-conduct should be at the 
disposal of your Excellency, whenever it was applied for by 
an officer from Paris at the German headquarters. He 
added that it could not be conveyed by the hands of a 
German officer until satisfaction had been given to the 
officer who had been shot at when bearing a flag of truce. 
M. Tissot gives me to understand that it would take a 
long time for this communication to reach you through the 
Delegation in Bordeaux. I have, therefore, suggested to 
Count Bernstorff another means of conveying it to you. 
I hope your Excellency will allow me to take this oppor- 
tunity of expressing the satisfaction I feel in dealing with 
you personally," &c. &c. 

Favre saw in this letter a recognition of the existing 
French Government and an invitation which he might turn 
to account in opening the discussion upon the situation 
of France before the Powers in London. In the circular 
issued to the French Ambassadors on January 12, he 
said : 

" Directly invited by this despatch, the Government could 
not refuse the invitation received in her name without 
neglecting the rights of France. It may no doubt be main- 
tained on the other hand that the time for such a discussion 
of the neutralisation of the Black Sea is not well chosen. 
But the very fact that this formal step is taken by the 
European Powers towards the French Republic at the critical 
moment when the country is fighting single-handed for 

2i8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

her honour and her existence, lends to it an exceptional 
gravity. It is a beginning, too long delayed, of the practice 
of justice, a pledge which cannot be recalled. It consecrates 
our change of government with the authority of international 
rights ; and leaves on the stage where the fate of the world is 
being decided, the nation freed in spite of its afflictions, face 
to face with the power which has brought it to ruin, and 
with the pretenders who would fain hold sway over it. Who, 
moreover, does not feel that France, admitted among the 
representatives of Europe, has an indisputable right to raise 
her voice in their presence ? Who will be able to hinder 
her, when, taking, her stand upon the everlasting ordinances 
of justice, she shall vindicate the principles which assure 
her independence and dignity ? Not one of these will she 
abandon. Our programme remains unchanged, and Europe, 
in inviting him who has laid it down, knows very well that 
he has both the will and the obligation to maintain it. We 
must hesitate no longer, and the Government would have 
committed a grave mistake if it had rejected the proifered 

"While recognising this, however, the Government thought, 
as I do, that the Foreign Minister could not, unless higher 
interests were at stake, leave Paris during the bombardment 
which the enemy is directing against the city.'' (Here 
follows a long sentimental lamentation over the damage 
which " the fury of the invaders '' has, intentionally, " in 
order to spread terror," inflicted by their shells upon churches, 
hospitals, orphanages, and so on.) Then he proceeds: "Our 
brave Parisians feel their courage rise with the danger. 
Firm, animated, and determined, they are neither exas- 
perated nor bowed down by their sufferings. They will fight 
and conquer more than ever, and we shall do so with them. 
/ cannot think of deserting them at this crisis. Probably 

XVII.] Difficulties about the safe-conduct. 219 

the protests we have addressed to Europe as well as to 
menabers of the diplomatic corps still remaining in Paris, 
will soon attain their object. England will understand that 
till that hour my place is in the midst of my fellow-citizens.^' 

The same expression had been used by Favre in the 
following answer of two days before to Lord Granville's 
letter, but only in the first part, where he said : " /" cannot 
consider myself justified in leaving my fellow-citizens at a 
moment when they are the victims of this violence " (" against an 
unarmed population " he had written in the lines immediately 
before, from a strong fortress with nearly 200,000 soldiers 
and militia!). Then, however, he proceeded : "Moreover, 
communication between London and Paris is, thanks to the 
commander of the besieging army (how naive I) so tedious 
and uncertain, that I cannot, with all my goodwill, answer 
your summons according to the letter of your despatch. 
You have informed me that the Conference will meet on 
February 3, and probably last for a week. This informa- 
tion having reached me on the evening of the loth of 
January, I could not have availed myself of your invitation 
in proper time. Besides, Herr von Bismarck in forwarding 
it to me did not accompany it with a safe-conduct, which 
is absolutely indispensable. He requires that a French 
officer should go to his headquarters to fetch it, and he 
bases this request on a reclamation addressed to the Governor 
of Paris, in consequence of an incident which a messenger 
with a flag of truce had to complain of on the 23rd of 
December. Herr von Bismarck adds, that the Prussian 
commander-in-chief has forbidden any communication by 
flag of truce until satisfaction for this has been obtained. I 
do not inquire whether such a decision, directly contrary to 
the rules of war, does not amount to an absolute denial 
of those higher claims of the amenities of warfare which 

220 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

necessity and humanity have always upheld. I content 
myself with remarking to your Excellency, that the Go- 
vernor of Paris lost no time in instituting an inquiry into the 
incident indicated by Count von Bismarck ; and that in 
announcing the fact to him, he brought very numerous 
cases to his knowledge, laid to the charge of the Prussian 
sentries, of which he had himself never taken advantage to 
interrupt the exchange of ordinary communications. Count 
von Bismarck seems to have admitted, partially at least, 
the justice of these observations, for he to-day asked the 
United States ambassador to inform me that, pending the 
reciprocal inquiries, he is re-establishing' communications 
by parley. There can, therefore, be no necessity for a 
French officer going to the Prussian headquarters ; and 
I will put myself into communication with the United 
States ambassador, in order to receive the passport which 
you have taken the trouble to procure for me. As soon as 
I- have this in my hands, and the condition of Paris permits 
me, I will take the road to London, sure beforehand that I 
will make no vain appeal in the name of my Government 
to the principles of justice and morality which Europe 
is so vitally interested in seeing respected." 

So far, M. Favre. The condition of Paris had not 
changed, the protests addressed to Europe had not yet put 
an end to the crisis. Indeed it was not yet possible that 
they should, when Favre, on the 13th of January, three days 
after his letter to Granville, and the day after the issue of 
his circular to the French representatives in foreign parts, 
sent the following despatch to the German Chancellor : — ■ 

" M. le Comte ! Lord Granville has informed me, in 
a despatch dated December 29 of last year, which I received 
in the evening of the loth of January, that your Excellency, 

XVII.] Favre and Bismarck. 22 1 

by request of the English Cabinet, holds at my disposal 
a safe-conduct, which is necessary to enable the plenipo- 
tentiaries of France at the London Congress to pass the 
Prussian lines. As I have been appointed in this capacity 
I do myself the honour to request your Excellency to send 
this passport, made out in my name, with the least possible 

My only object in quoting all this is to show the difference 
between the character and ability of Favre, and Bismarck 
as he really is. Compare the writings of the one, as they 
have been given in detail above, with the following utterance 
of the other. There we have indecision, ambiguity, conceits 
of pose and phrase, and, lastly, contradiction of what had 
been said emphatically a few lines before, and expressed 
with equal emphasis in other documents. Here, on the 
contrary, speaks a man who is sure, simple, natural, and 
always to the point. The Chancellor answered Favre on 
January i6 (I leave out the opening words) as follows : 

" Your Excellency assumes that on the application of the 
Royal government of Great Britain a pass to enable you to 
attend the London Conference lies ready for you with me. 
This assumption, however, is not correct. I could not have 
entered upon an official negotiation resting on the supposi- 
tion that the National Defence Committee is, by the law 
of nations, in a position to act in the name of France, 
so long as it has not been, in the least degree, recognised 
by the French nation itself 

" I presume that the commander of our outposts would 
have granted your Excellency the warrant to pass the 
German lines had your Excellency applied for it to the 
general of the besieging army. The latter would have had 
no occasion to consider your Excellency's political station 

222 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and the purpose of your journey, while the fact of the warrant 
to pass our hnes being granted by the military authorities, 
to whom it would not have seemed, from their point of view, 
a matter for much hesitation, would have left the hands of 
his Majesty's ambassador in London free in regard to 
the question whether your Excellency's declarations could, 
by the law of nations, be regarded as the declarations of 
France, so that he could have taken up his ground, and on 
his part adopted some form by which prejudice might have 
been avoided. In addressing to me, by way of an official 
announcement of the object of your journey, an official re- 
quest for a passport, in view of the representation of France 
at the Conference, your Excellency has debarred us from 
this course. Political considerations, in support of which 
I refer to the declarations published by your Excellency, 
forbid me to accede to your request by sending such a 

" While making this communication I can only leave you 
to consider for yourself and your government, whether any 
other way can be suggested for removing the objections indi- 
cated, by which any prejudice arising out of your presence 
in London can be avoided. 

" But even if such a way should be found, I venture to 
ask whether it is wise for your Excellency to leave Paris 
and your post as member of the Government there, to take 
part in person in a Conference about the Black Sea, at a 
moment when interests are at stake in Paris which are of far 
greater importance, both to France and Germany, than the 
nth article of the Treaty of 1856. Your Excellency would 
also be leaving behind in Paris the diplomatic agents and 
attaches of the neutral states, who have remained, or rather 
been detained there, long after they received permission to 
pass through the German lines, and have therefore all the 

XVIL] Results at Le Mans. 223 

greater claims upon your protection and forethought as 

Minister for Foreign Affairs in the actual Government. 

" I can therefore scarcely suppose that your Excellency, 

in the critical situation which you have so essential a part 

in conducting to its issue, will willingly deprive yourself of 

the opportunity of assisting in the solution, for which the 

responsibility rests on you." 


It is now the turn of the journal to speak again. 

Tuesday, January 17. — The weather is warm, with much 
wind. No shots are heard. The bombardment, however, was 
carried on yesterday, satisfactorily, and with but trifling loss 
on the German side. I telegraph to this effect by command 
of the Chief, mentioning at the same time that the French 
loss during the six days' fighting at Le Mans has been far 
more considerable than was supposed. Nineteen guns and 
22,000 unwounded prisoners have there fallen into our 

At dinner we had as guests the Saxon Count Nostitz- 
Wallwitz, who is to be appointed to the administration here, 
and a Herr Winter, or von Winter, who has been made 
Prefect of Chartres. On some one turning the conversation 
upon the future operations of the war, the Chief observed : 
" I think, if by God's help we take Paris, we will not occupy 
it with our troops. The National Guard might serve there 
under a French commandant. We should occupy only the 
forts and the outskirts. Every one would be let in, but no 
one let out. It would be a great prison until it came to be 
a small one on the conclusion of peace." He then spoke 
with Nostitz about the General Councils, and said that every 
attempt should be made to procure the goodwill of their 
members. Here would be a good field for further political 
operations. " As for the military side of the question," he 

224 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

went on to say, " I am for more concentration, not 
covering a certain quantity of ground, but so holding it 
in hand that the authorities can conduct the administration, 
and especially collect the taxes in a regular way. The 
military has a centrifugal plan of operations, I a centri- 
petal." . . . " If we cannot provide every place within our 
circle with garrisons, we can send a flying column from 
time to time to such places as prove troublesome, and shoot, 
hang, and burn. If that is done twice they will soon listen 
to reason.'' Winter thought that the mere appearance of 
the party to do execution in such places would produce 
the desired effect. "I don't know," said the Chief; "a 
moderate amount of hanging does much better ; and if a 
few shells are thrown in, and a few houses burnt. That 
reminds me of the Bavarians, who asked the Prussian artillery 
officer, ' What think you, comrade ; are we to burn this 
village to the ground, or only wreck it in moderation V 
I don't know what the answer was." 

He told us then that he- had many well-wishers in Bremen. 
" They have lately made for me there a number of excel- 
lent cigars, very strong, but praised by all connoisseurs. 
In the press of business I have forgotten the name of the 
company " — (Bucher named, if I remember right, " Jacobi 
Brothers") — " and now they send me again a fine polar bear's 
skin. It is too good for the campaign ; I shall send it 
home." , 

This led him to observe that, at St. Petersburg once, 
he wanted to go on a. bear's hunt, down the Dwina to 
Archangel, but his wife would not let him ; besides he would 
have been obliged to take at least six weeks' leave. In the 
woods up there, is an incredible quantity of game, especially 
blackcock and woodcock, which are killed in thousands by 
the Finns and Samoyeds, who shoot them with small rifles 

XVII.] Let them learn German. 225 

without ramrods, and bad powder, " A woodcock there," 
added he, " lets itself, I will not say be caught with the 
hand, but killed with a stick. In St. Petersburg they come 
to the market in heaps. On the whole a sportsman is 
pretty well off in Russia, and the cold is not so bad, for 
every one is used to struggling with it. All the houses 
are properly warmed, even the steps and the porch as well 
as the riding paths, and no one thinks of visiting with a tall 
hat in winter, but goes instead in furs with a fur-cap." 

He came to speak again, I do not remember how, of his 
yesterday's letter to Favre, and said, " I have given him 
clearly to understand that it will not do, and that I could not 
believe that the man who helped to bring about the business 
of the 4th of September, would not wish to await its 
issue. I wrote in French, partly because I look upon it not 
as official, but as private correspondence, but also that 
it may be read, not only by him, but by everybody 
in the French army before it gets to him." Nostitz asked 
iiow diplomatic correspondence was generally conducted. 
" In German," said the Chief; " formerly it was in French, 
but I have changed this. Only with those cabinets, how- 
ever, whose language we ujiderstand — England, Italy, and 
Spain ; these can be read at a pinch ; — not with Russia, for 
I am about the only man in the Foreign Office who under- 
stands Russian. Nor again, with Holland, Denmark, or 
Sweden, for their languages are not learnt as a rule. They 
write in French, and are answered in the same way.'' " The 
King has, moreover, given orders that the soldiers are only 
to converse with the French in German. Let them learn it. 
We have had to learn their language." " With Thiers (he 
meant Favre), at Ferriferes, I conversed in French. But 
I told him that it was only because I was not dealing with 
him officially. He laughed at that. I said to him, however, 


226 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

' You will see when we are discussing terms of peace that 
we shall speak German.' " 

At tea we were told that the bombardment in the South 
had ceased, because one of the generals (who was supposed 
to have been always against it) had managed to get his 
own way. It is hoped, however, that the Crown Prince of 
Saxony will press rapidly forward, and keep up a sharp fire 
on the North. On our side we shall not then allow him to get 
in advance of us, for fear of giving justification for supposing 
that the Saxons have compelled the capitulation. This is 
clearly only a rumour. At least. Count Dorfhoff, who came 
in just now, declared that our guns on the South side of 
Paris were not idle, only we do not hear the shots because 
of the south-west wind, and certainly there was not so 
much firing as on the previous days. Moreover, fire will 
probably be opened to-morrow upon the city from Saint- 
Denis, which will considerably astonish the Parisians in the 
Northern quarters. 

In the evening, we find from the Moniteur that twenty- 
eight French officers, among them a major and seven 
captains, have recently broken their parole, and escaped 
from confinement. Altogether io8 of these men of honour 
have escaped already from the territories of the North 
German Confederation. Some of them, for example Lieut. 
Marchesau, who sneaked away in woman's clothes from 
Altona, have been caught a second time, and Colonel 
Saussier, who fled from Graudenz over the Russian frontier, 
was seized by the authorities there, and handed back again 
in Thorn. 

Wednesday, January i8. — The sky is cloudy; the air 
clear. An extensive view; the temperature warm, with 
a little wind. In the morning I read letters and news- 
papers. Wollmann told me an order had come in promoting 

XVIL] The Proclamation of the Empire. 227 

our Chief to the rank of Lieutenant-General. Hatzfeld 
and Bohlen have received the cross to-day. The others 
are expecting it, and the longing for it seems with some 
of them to be very great. What store even the lower 
officials set by it, and how useful the custom of decorations 
consequently is to the state, was shown by what our excel- 
lent T. said to me this morning, " God knows, doctor, I 
would gladly even give up all my extra pay, if you will 
believe me, if I could get the Iron Cross." I believed 
him, although it was hardly conceivable ; for the extra pay 
to which he referred comes to one and a half times as 
much as his ordinary income. 

Between twelve and half-past one there was the banquet 
of the knights in the great hall of the castle, and the 
proclamation in military splendour of the German Empire 
and Emperor. It must have been a very grand and im- 
posing sight. Meanwhile I took a long walk with Woll- 
mann. As we were on our way back, going from the 
railings of the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, up the alley, and 
through the Rue de Saint-Pierre, we heard the thunder-roll 
of loud hurrahs from the Place d'Armes ; these were for the 
King, who was returning home from the ceremony. I 
should have said for the Emperor. At dinner the Chief 
was absent, as he was dining with the Emperor. Twice in 
the evening I was summoned to receive instructions from 
him ; he spoke with an unusually weak voice, and seemed 
tired and exhausted. 

The Minister has received a letter written by Kern, the 
Swiss ambassador, on behalf of a number of diplomatists 
remaining in Paris, requesting him to see that measures are 
taken to enable the protegds of the writers to escape, before 
the bombardment, to a distance from the town. This is 
to dispute our right to bombard Paris, and to infer that 

Q 2 

228 Bismarck iJi the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

we purposely fire upon buildings which ought to be spared. 
In reply, we can say that we have repeatedly (as early as 
towards the end of September, and once more in October) 
drawn the attention of those of the inhabitants of Paris who 
are citizens of neutral countries, through their embassies, to 
the damage which the town must be exposed to from a pro- 
longed resistance. For months, we allowed all neutrals 
who could show themselves to be such, and who wished to 
leave, to pass our lines without difficulty. On military grounds 
we can now grant this privilege only to members of the diplo- 
matic body. If a number of neutrals have still not availed 
themselves of this permission to take themselves and their 
chattels to a place of safety, it is not our fault ; they 
must either not have wished to go, or been hindered by the 
authorities of Paris. 

If we bombard Paris, we are fully entitled to do so by 
the law of nations : for Paris is a fortress, nay, the prin- 
cipal fortress in France — an entrenched camp for a large 
army, which, after starting from it to take up the offensive 
against us, returns to it for shelter. Our general, therefore, 
could never be required to leave uncaptured this vantage 
point of his adversaries, or to touch it with velvet gloves. 
Our object in the bombardment is not to destroy the city 
but to storm the fortress. Allowing that our fire makes 
residence in Paris uncomfortable and dangerous, those who 
were warned of that should not have entered or remained 
in a beleaguered city, and their complaints should be 
addressed, not to us, but to those who have turned Paris 
into a fortress, and are using its fortifications as weapons 
against us. Lastly, our artillery does not fire intentionally 
upon private houses, or philanthropic establishments, such 
as hospitals and the like, and this ought to have been self- 
evident, from the careful respect we have shown to the 

XVIL] A Serious Sortie. 229 

stipulations of Geneva. Only by accident, from the great 
distance at which we are firing, have houses or persons, 
not concerned in the carrying on of the war, been hit. But 
Paris, from which the war was suddenly let loose upon us, 
and from which the war is now principally conducted, cannot 
be allowed to make use of such cases to prevent a severe 
bombardment, intended to make it untenable. I wrote an 
article in this sense. 

Thursday, January 1 9. — The weather is dull. The post is 
delayed, and we learn on inquiry that at Vitry-la-Ville, in the 
neighbourhood of Chalons, the railway has been broken up. 
After ten a.m. we again hear a moderately brisk cannon- 
ade, in which field-pieces ultimately join. I write two articles 
upon a sentimental statement in the Journal des Debats to 
the effect that our shells have taken for their mark only 
ambulances, mothers and daughters, sick ladies^ and cradles 
with infants in swaddling clothes — what horribly ill-disposed 
shells ! 

To-day's firing, Keudell tells us at breakfast, is due to a 
fresh and important sortie which the Parisians, with twenty- 
four battalions and numerous guns, have made against our 
positions between La Celle and St. Cloud, Towards two 
o'clock, when the whirr and rattle of the mitrailleuses are 
plainly heard, and the French artillery is at the most two 
miles in a direct line from Versailles, the Chief mounts to 
ride to the aqueduct of Marly, whither the King and Crown 
Prince have also gone. I set off thither likewise, with 

On our way we meet, in Roquencourt, a musketeer 
coming back from the fight, who, on our asking how things 
are going, gives us to understand we are in a bad way, the 
enemy being already in the wood on the hills behind La 
Celle. We cannot believe it, because in that case there 

230 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

would have been more signs of life here, and we should 
have heard the firing more distinctly. Some way beyond 
we meet the Crown Prince returning to Versailles. There 
cannot then be any further danger. When we come to the 
heights in front of Marly we are not allowed to go further 
along the high road, which strikes north here, as straight as a 
line. We wait a while in a cutting wind and under a cloud, 
from which falls a dense shower of snow-flakes, among the 
long-bearded sons of Anak of the militia guard who are 
posted here. The King and the Chancellor are, I suppose, 
on the aqueduct. When the cloud lifts we see Mont 
Valdrien deliver three shots in succession, and the redoubts 
beneath its walls fire eight times. Now and then too a 
flash comes from our batteries in the west beyond the Seine, 
and a house seems to be burning in one of the river-side 
villages. When the fire ceases we return home. 

In Versailles, however, the situation must have caused 
uneasiness ; for, as we pass through the town, we find that 
the Bavarians have entered it. Formerly one only caught 
sight of them here by ones and twos. They are posted, 
we are told, in dense masses in the Place d'Armes and 
the Avenue de Paris. The French, however, are encamped, 
they say, about 60,000 strong, under Mont Valerien, and in 
the fields east of it. They are supposed to have taken the 
Montretout redoubt, and to hold in their hands also the 
village of Garches, not much more than a couple of miles 
from here, and the western portion of Saint-Cloud. It was 
feared that to-morrow they might press on further and force 
us to evacuate Versailles. This cannot be true, or at least 
it is exaggerated. 

The conversation at dinner seems to confirm this impres- 
sion. The danger was not spoken of as imminent. We 
had as our guest Privy Councillor von Loper, who is to be 

XVII.] Bourbaki, Werder and Manieuffel. 231 

Under-Secretary of State in the Household. At first the pur- 
port of the talk was that the danger which had threatened 
our communications with Germany on the South-East had 
passed away, as General Bourbaki, who had pressed hard 
upon Werder for three whole days without being able to 
beat him back, had, probably on the news of Manteuft'el's 
advance, given up the attempt to relieve Belfort, and was 
in full retreat. The Chief then alluded to a statement that 
the taxes could not be got in from different communities 
in the parts of France which we occupy, and said it was 
difficult, nay impossible, to plant garrisons everywhere, to 
compel the people to pay them. Then he went on to 
say, " That, however, is not at all necessary. The thing 
can be managed by flying columns of infantry, with some 
horse artillery and a couple of guns. They need not even 
enter a place, but simply send in a message, ' If you do not 
produce the outstanding taxes — in two hours shells will be 
thrown in.' Then they see you are in earnest, and they pay. 
In some instances a place will really be bombarded, so as 
to encourage the others. They must learn what war is." 

Later on the conversation turned upon the indemnity 
that might be expected when peace was concluded, and 
this led the Chief to speak of that paid in 1866. He said, 
" We ought not to have made them pay in money. I at 
least resisted it for a long time, but at last I gave way to the 
temptation." " We ought to have been paid in land, as in 
1815, and it would have been a good opportunity.'' 

Friday , January 20. — The weather is rather cloudy, and 
no more firing is heard. In the course of the morning we 
hear that the Parisians have abandoned their positions of last 
evening, and marched back into the town with drums beating. 
Our losses in the fight are said to be trifling, while those of 
the enemy are very severe. From the West comes the news 

232 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

that Tours has been occupied by our troops, without resist- 
ance ; from the North, that Goeben has beaten the French 
at Saint-Quentin, in a battle lasting seven hours, and taken 
4000 unwounded prisoners. At twelve o'clock I am sent 
for by the Chief. He wishes his answer to Kern's memorial, 
and the letter in which he refused Favre his passport, to 
appear in the Moniteur. 

At dinner, Bohlen was again present, as well as Lauer and 
von Knobelsdorff. The Chief was good-humoured and 
talkative. Among other things he told us that, when he 
was in Frankfort, he had constantly had invitations to the 
Grand-Ducal Court at Darmstadt, and accepted them. 
There was an excellent hunt there. " However," he went 
on, "I have reason to suppose that I was not a favourite 
with the Grand-Duchess Mathilda. She said once to some- 
body, ' He is always there, and looks as if he were as big 
a man as the Grand Duke.' " 

As we sat over our cigars, the Crown Prince's Adjutant 
(Major von Hanke, or Kameke), came in suddenly, in a 

waterproof cloak, to tell us that Count (the name was 

unintelligible) had come out, ostensibly in the name and by 
order of Trochu, to request a two days' truce for carrying 
away the wounded in yesterday's sally, and burying those 
who had fallen there. The Chief repHed, that the French 
must not have this conceded to them, as it would only 
take a few hours to carry off the wounded and bury the 
dead; besides the dead would rest just as well above as 
beneath the earth. Soon after the Major reappeared and 
said the King was coming ; and, true enough, scarcely a 
quarter of an hour afterwards his Majesty walked in, and 
the Crown Prince along -with him. They went with the 
Chancellor into the drawing-room, where a refusal of 
Trochu's request was agreed upon. 

XVII.] Held, the Father of the People. 233 

About nine o'clock, Bucher sent me a few lines, in pencil, 
to say that, by the Chiefs orders, the letter to Kern was to 
be printed in to-morrow's Moniteur, while that to Favre was 
to stand over till further notice. I at once sent instructions 
to that effect to Bamberg, who must by this time have 
received the letters through the office. 

At tea, Wagner told us various anecdotes of the year 
1848. He had made an agreement with the famous Miiller, 
in the Linden, that if Miiller's party would do the same when 
their turn came he would take care that his opponents did 
not get hanged when the Conservative party had the upper 
hand. " When, therefore, our side got quite the best of it," 
he went on, " I went to the head of the police, and asked him 
to allow me to have Miiller's confinement somewhat abated ; 
and I sent him, in memory of our agreement, a dozen 
bottles of wine and six smoked geese." This was another of 
his stories : " On one occasion when Held, who once played 
a leading part in Berlin, and was a great favourite with the 
lower classes, was having a public meeting, we had a handbill 
printed and posted up at the street corners, somewhat to this 
effect : ' Held, the father of the people, yesterday, at the 
meeting at ' (such-and-such a place) ' made a collection for 
the sick and needy, which reached the considerable sum of 
II 93 thalers, so many silver groschen and so many pfennigs. 
Those in want should present themselves, therefore at his 
house ' (such and such a number in such and such a street) ; 
' and receive their share.' Of course he had made no such ' 
collection. But we had the satisfaction of bringing about 
his ears a number of people who would not believe a word 
of it." 

Saturday, January 21. — A dense fog in the morning. No 
firing going on. At half-past nine the Moniteur comes in, 
and — contains the Chiefs letter to Favre ! Unfortunate ; but 

234 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

my letter to Bamberg only reached him when the number 
was printed. About ten I was summoned to the Chief, who 
however said nothing of the mishap, though the paper was 
lying before him. He was still in bed, and wished Count 
Chambord's protest against the bombardment of Paris cut 
out for the King. I then wrote an article for the German 
papers, and an occasional note for the paper here. 

At dinner in the evening, Voigts-Rhetz, Prince Putbus, and 
the Bavarian Count Berghem were the Chancellor's guests. 
The Bavarian had brought the pleasant news that the Con- 
ventions of Versailles had passed the Second Chamber in 
Munich by two votes to spare over the required majority of 
two-thirds. The German Empire then is formally esta- 
bhshed. The Chief accordingly proposed to the company 
to drink the health of the King of Bavaria, " who had really 
brought the matter to a satisfactory conclusion." " I always 
thought," he added, " that we should carry it through, if 
only by one vote ; I had not hoped for two. The last 
good news from the seat of war probably contributed 
to it." 

It was then mentioned that in the great sortie the day 
before yesterday the French had deployed against us more 
men than had been hitherto believed, probably over 80,000, 
and that the Montretout redoubt had actually been in 
their hands for some hours, as well as part of Garches and 
Saint-Cloud. They had, however, suffered frightful losses in 
storming them ; as many as 1200 dead and 4000 wounded 
were talked of. The Chief observed, " The capitulation 
must soon come now ; next week, I should imagine. After 
the capitulation they are to be supplied by us with provisions 
— that is understood — but, until they have given up 700,000 
stand of arms, and 4,000 cannon, not a morsel of bread 
shall they touch, and no one will be let out. We occupy 

XVII.] A High-Class Spy. 235 

the forts and the suburbs, and put them to a little cost until 
they can bring themselves to agree to a peace that will 
suit us. There are still many intelligent and respectable 
people in Paris for us to deal with.'' 

Afterwards we came to speak of a Madame Cordier, who 
stayed here some time ago, and had spent several hours 
each day walking up and down on the bridge of Sevres, 
apparently with the intention of getting into Paris or con- 
vejang something in. She seems to be a pretty, somewhat 
elderly widow ; and if I understood right, is a daughter of 
Lafitte and a sister of the wife of the Marquis de Gallifet, 
commander of cavalry, who was conspicuous among the 
elegant women of Napoleon's court. She seems to have 
been looked upon among us as a high-class spy, and the 
wonder was that she was tolerated here; but probably 
she had many friends and admirers among the higher 

The Chief remarked, " I remember when she came 
to Frankfort fifteen or sixteen years ago. There she un- 
doubtedly expected to play the part of a beauty and a 
Parisian. But it did not succeed. She had common 
manners and but little tact, and was not so well-educated 
as the bankers' wives in Frankfort, who soon made out the 
fact. I know she went out one day in dirty wet weather 
with a rose-coloured satin cloak on, all covered with lace. 
' If she got sovereigns sewn all over her dress,' said the 
ladies of Frankfort, ' we should see better what she wanted 
to show off.' " 

The conversation then drifted into a learned discussion 
upon the difference between the titles " German Emperor '' 
and " Emperor of Germany ;" the possibility of an " Emperor 
of the Germans" being also mentioned. After the discussion 
had lasted for some time the Chief, who had hitherto 

236 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

remained silent, asked " Does any gentleman know the 
Latin for sausage ? " " Farcimentiim," replied Abeken. 
" Farcimen," said I. " Farcimentum or farcimen, whichever 
you please," said the Chief, smiling, "nescio quid mihi magis 
farcimentum esset." (I don't know which of the two I 
should consider the more made-up name.) 

Sunday, January 22. — The weather is bright, but not cold. 
As yesterday, so to-day, only a few shots are heard. It is 
time for me that we should get away from here, for I feel 
quite tired and exhausted again. In the forenoon I wrote 
two articles for the German papers, and one for the 
Moniteur ; and was twice with the Chief about them. At 
dinner there were present the Saxon von Konneritz — 
a handsome man with an aquiline nose and a large beard 
— General von Stosch, and Loper. There was nothing re- 
markable in the conversation but that the Chief again 
spoke of its being only fair to give the Iron Cross to .the 
wounded. After dinner I read drafts and other documents, 
among others Heffter's extremely exhaustive report upon 
the Emperor's title. This conscientious scholar has studied 
a large number of documents bearing upon the point, 
which to the Chief is a question of sausages ; but, if in the 
hurry of the moment I rightly understood his treatise, he 
has not come across any one of the titles put forward : 
German Emperor, Emperor of Germany, German King, or 
King of Germany. 

In the evening I drew attention in two articles to a piece 
of cruelty on the part of the French, highly characteristic of 
the war set on foot by Gambetta, and, as the following 
statements show, thoroughly well attested : 

"At the request of the battalion the undersigned states 
that on his march to Vendome on the ist of January, he 

XVII.] The Horrors of War. 237 

received information that a dead cuirassier had been found 
in Villaria, with both his eyes gouged out. The under- 
signed saw this cuirassier lying on an ambulance waggon, 
escorted by his comrades. He had several knife and 
bayonet wounds in the abdomen, and a shot in the shoulder, 
and his eyes were cut out of their sockets. The body seems 
to have been found in this condition a day or two ago. 

"Von LtJDERiTZ, 

' ' First Lieutenant in the 4th Westphalian 
"Infantry Regiment, No. 17." 

" I certify that at Villaria on January i, I saw the corpse 
of a cuirassier, with both his eyes gouged out. I made no 
detailed examination of the body, but I believe more 
accurate information could be obtained. The body was 
escorted by dragoons of the 1 6th Regiment. 

"D. Halle, 

' ' Surgeon of the Second Battalion of 
" Regiment No. 17. 
" The Tuileries, January 9, 1871." 

" The Division (20th Infantry Division) submits to the 
commander-in-chief, in the accompanying papers, the state- 
ment of First-Lieut, von Liideritz, of the 4th Westphalian 
Infantry Regiment, No. 17, respecting the mutilation of a 
cuirassier of the No. 3 East Prussian Cuirassier Regiment, 
which may serve as material for the list which is to be 
drawn up of breaches of international law committed by the 
French. The Division further draws attention to the fact 
that in the battle of the nth instant the enemy used 
explosive bullets in their rifles, which was remarked by the 
privates as well as by most of the officers, so that Major 
Blume is in a position to certify this on oath. 

" Mantz. 

"Chapelle, January 16, 1871." 

238 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Monday, January 2 3. — Weather dull and mild. I telegraph 
that the bombardment from our northern batteries is doing 
good work : the fort at Saint-Denis is silenced, while confla- 
grations are noticed in the town of Denis, as well as in 
Paris. I then wrote an article, with an appropriate moral 
upon the poisoning of four Prussians in Rouen, and com- 
pleted the collection of French cruelties and breaches of 
international law, by the report of Dr. Rosenthal upon his 
imprisonment with the Red-breeches. The post is delayed 
again to-day, because the Francs-tireurs have blown up a 
bridge over the Moselle between Nancy and Toul. A 
vigorous fire is kept up by all our batteries, though we do 
not hear it. So says Von Uslar, lieutenant of hussars, who 
comes from the outposts to bring the Chief a letter from 
Favre. What does he want now ? 

General von Kameke, commander-in-chief of the engi- 
neers employed in the siege, and the light blue hussar and 
Johanniter, von Frankenberg, were present at dinner. There 
was no conversation worth noticing. 

In the evening, soon after seven, Favre himself came in, 
and the Chancellor had an interview with him up in the little 
room next his own, where the widow Jesse's eldest son 
used to live. The conference lasted about two hours 
and a half. Meanwhile Hatzfeld and Bismarck-Bohlen 
entertained Favre's companion, his son-in-law, whose name 
was Del Rio, in the drawing-room below. He was, it 
appears, properly speaking a portrait-painter, but had come 
out as secretary with his father-in-law. Both of them got 
something to eat, whatever was to be had at a moment's 
notice, cutlets, buttered eggs, ham^ &c., which will do them 
good, poor martyrs to obstinacy ! Shortly before a quarter to 
eleven they both set off to return to their lodging here in a 
carriage standing at the door. Accommodation had been 

XVII.] In at the Death. 239 

found for them on the Boulevard du Roi, where Stieber and 
the field poUce happen to be quartered. Hatzfeld escorted 
the gentlemen there. Favre seems depressed, and his 
dress somewhat neglected; his son-in-law, who is a little 
man of southern type, the same. Uslar had accompanied 
them here from the outposts. 

After half-past ten the Chief goes to the King, and comes 
back in about three-quarters of an hour. When he came to 
us in the tea-room he seemed unusually pleased, sat down, 
let me pour him out some tea, and took a few bites of 
dry bread with it. After a while he said to his cousin, 
" Dost thou know this ?" whistling a few bars — a hunter's 
signal, which signifies that the stag is killed. " Yes," said 
Bohlen ; " a famous hunt." " No," said the chief, " that 
goes so," whistling a different air. " It was the signal to 
be in at the death. I think it is all over." Bohlen then 
remarked that Favre had looked " very shabby." The 
Chief answered : " I find him grown much greyer than in 
Ferriferes — stouter, too, probably from the horseflesh. Other- 
wise, he looks like a man who has lately passed through 
much trouble and agitation, and to whom everything now 
has lost its taste. He was quite frank, and confessed that 
things were going on badly inside. I learnt from him, too, 
that Trochu is superseded, and Vinoy is now commander in 
the city." Bohlen then told us that Martinez del Rio had 
been extremely reserved. They had not, indeed, attempted 
to question him, but once they had asked how things were 
at Rothschild's villa at Boulogne, where Thiers said the 
staff of the Parisian army were quartered. He had replied 
quite curtly that he did not know. They had been talking 
to him all the rest of the time, somewhat ill-naturedly, about 
the first-class restaurants of Paris. Hatzfeld informed us, 
when he came back from accompanying the two Parisians, 

240 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

that Favre was glad that he had arrived in the dark, and 
would not leave to-morrow during daylight, lest he should 
attract attention, or be recognised by the people of Ver- 
sailles. Before the Chancellor went up to his room, he 
asked whether anyone was left in the office who wrote 
legibly, if so, he must go up with him. Willisch was there, 
and accompanied him upstairs. 

To go back a little. This afternoon I was in the Hall " du Jeu 
de Paume," the famous " tennis court " (German, Ballhaus) 
of 1789, which stands in a small street named after it near 
the Place d'Armes and the upper end of the Avenue de 
Sceaux. From reading of the Revolution in German books 
I had formed quite a different idea of the place ; I imagined 
a stately house with a fine large hall for balls and concerts. 
I now saw that this was a mistake. It is a quite insignifi- 
cant building, and the hall, which is not for dancing, but for 
playing ball, is neither elegant nor spacious. The door is 
approached from the outside by some small steps. The 
porter's wife led the way to the hall, which is very simple 
and without any adornment whatever. It is about 40 paces 
long by 20 broad, and about 30 feet high. The lower part 
of the wall is of stone, which is painted black, the upper part 
being boarded. The ceiling is of wood. In the woodwork 
are windows large and small, protected against the balls 
by wire gratings. Below, round the long side of the room, 
which is turned to the street, and the two short sides, runs 
a covered wooden corridor, with windows also protected 
by wire gratings. In the wall on the fourth side, about 
a man's height from the ground, a four-cornered brass slab 
is let in, containing the oath of June 20, 1789.* It was 
brought here in 1790 by a company of "patriots." 

* This declared indirectly the sovereignty of the National Assembly, 
into which the third Estate of the States-General, shortly before led by 

XVII.] The Tennis Court. 241 

There is nothing else to remind one of what happened 
here. When I was examining this historical spot, clothes 
were hanging up in the corridor to dry, and cabbage leaves 
lay strewn about the floor. Probably the porter kept a 
rabbit-hutch where Mirabeau once thundered. A leather- 
covered ball and a bat reminded one of the proper use of 
the room. 

Tuesday, January 24. — The day is cloudy and foggy. The 
Chief got up before nine o'clock, and worked with Abeken^ 
Shortly before ten he went to the King, or as we now 
sajf, the Emperor. He did not come back till about one. 

Bailly and Mirabeau, had been recently changed, after certain members 
of the other two Estates had been added to it. It ran thus : "The 
National Assembly, which is to give the kingdom a new constitution, 
must not be hindered in its deliberations ; its members hereby pledge 
themselves by an oath not to break up, but to meet again continuously 
in one place, till the constitution is complete and firmly established." 
Three days after, on the 23rd of June, the Revolution began on the 
basis of this oath. The king caused a Constitution to be submitted 
to the Assembly of the three Estates, to which were prefixed fifteen 
articles, expressly forbidding a thorough reformation of the State, 
such as the Liberals desired and contemplated. The speech, dfawn 
up for the king by his ministers, ended with these words: "I com- 
mand you, gentlemen, to break up immediately, to meet to-morrow 
in the hall appointed for each individual Estate, and there to begin 
youir sittings again." These were strong words, but they were spoken 
by a weak prince. The deputies of the Commons remained assembled 
in spite of the king's command, and when the Grand Master of the 
Ceremonies, the Marquis de Dreux-Breze, required them to depart, 
Mirabeau answered him, "My lord, you cannot be the king's organ 
with the National Assembly, for you have neither seat nor voice here, 
nor even the right to remind us of what the king has said. Tell your 
master that we are assembled here by the will of the people, and that 
we can only be dispersed at the point of the bayonet." In answer to 
this opposition the king did nothing ; when he was told of it, he 
replied : " Very well, if the gentlemen of the Third Estate will not leave 
the hall, we must let them stay there." 


242 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

when we were sitting at breakfast. He ate a piece of fried 
ham, drank a glass of Tivoli beer, sighed, and said : " Till 
now I have always thought that the parliamentary method 
of conducting State matters was the most wearisome con- 
ceivable. I think so no longer. At any rate there is an 
escape with the last motion that is made. Here every one 
brings forward his individual opinion, and when one is 
deluded into hoping that the matter is settled, some one 
comes out with an opinion which he has already expressed, 
and which has been refuted, and we are back again where 
we started, and nothing gets done. No ; I shall be pleased, 
nay thankful, if anything is yet decided, or will even be 
decided by to-morrow." He then observed that he expected 
Favre back, and had advised him to be off by three o'clock 
for he is going back to Paris, lest the soldiers should chal- 
lenge him in the dark, and he not be able to answer them. 

At half-past one, Favre again called on the Chancellor, 
talking with him for nearly two hours, after which he re- 
turned home, Bismarck-Bohlen accompanying him as far 
as the Bridge of Sfevres. 

A,t dinner, where we had lobster mayonnaise, the talk did 
not turn upon this interview. But it seems to be under- 
stood as a matter of course that the preliminaries of the 
capitulation were discussed at it. The Chief first spoke of 
Bernstorff, and said : " I have not arrived at the point of 
writing with complacent diffuseness sides and sheets on the 
most unimportant things. A heap so high '' (he showed it 
with his hand) " has come in to-day. And then come 
always back-references — ' as I had the honour to inform 
you in my despatch of January 3, 1863, Number so-and-so ;' 
or 'as I said, with the utmost respect, in my telegram, 
Number i665.' Then I send it to the King, and he wants 
to know what he means, and pencils on the margin, ' I 

XVII.] What a Barbarian ! 243 

don't know this.' " Some one wanted to know whether 
Goltz had written as much. " Yes," said the Chief, " and 
sometimes, besides, private letters to myself, of six or eight 
closely-written sheets. He must have had a fearful amount 
of time on his hands. Luckily I quarrelled with him, and 
that blessing ceased." One of the company wondered : 
' What he would have said if he had seen the Emperor in 
prison, the Empress in London, and Paris besieged and 
bombarded by us?' "Well," repHed the Chief, "the 
Emperor was no such favourite of his, but — in spite of his 
being enamoured — he would not have been as pleased with 
all this as other people are." 

The death of a Dutch or Belgian princess was mentioned, 
and Abeken, as in duty bound, expressed his sorrow. The 
Chief, however, said, " How can you take it to heart like 
that? There is no Belgian here at table, and no relation." 

He then told us that Favre had complained to him that we 
fired upon the sick and blind in the Blind Institute. " I do 
not know what you find hard in that," said I. " You do far 
worse ; you shoot at our men who are in sound and vigorous 
health. ' What a Barbarian ! ' he no doubt thought tq 

Mention was made of Hohenlohe and his services in 
securing the success of the bombardment. "■ I have de- 
termined," said the Chief, " to confer on him the title of 
Poliorcetes (sacker of cities)." The conversation turned 
upon the statues and pictures of the Renaissance^ and their 
want of naturalness and good taste. " That reminds me,'' 
said the Chief, "of the Minister Schuckmann, whom his 
wife painted — en coquille, I think it was called — in a rose- 
coloured cockle-shell, and dressed in a kind of antique 
costume, naked down to here — pointing to the bottom of 
his waistcoat — as I certainly never saw him." " He belongs 

R 2 

244 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. XVII. 

to my earliest recollections. They often gave what were 
then called Assemblies, and are now called Routs — an 
Evening without supper. My parents usually attended 
them." He then again described the dress of his mother, 
and went on, " Some time after, there was an ambassador 
in Berlin, who also gave similar balls, where we danced 
till three o'clock, and there was nothing to eat. I know 
that, for I and a couple of good friends often went to them. 
At last we young people rebelled. When it grew late we 
produced bread-and-butter from our pockets and devoured 
it. Food was provided the very next time, but we were 
never invited again." 

( 245 ) 



Wednesday, January 25. — In the morning I wrote letters, 
wrote out an article and a telegram, and read despatches 
and drafts. The latter contained nothing worthy of note. 
In the afternoon I looked up Dr. Good in the cloister in 
the Rue Saint-Honor^, where he had been taken on account 
of his iUness. He pronounced himself past cure, and 
spoke of his death as imminent. Alas for a most amiable 
man ! 

Count Lehndorff dined with us. The conversation first 
turned upon the heavy losses sustained by the French in 
their sally of the 1 9th, and then upon our own during the 
whole campaign. After this the fish we are eating — mullet, 
as I understand, native to the Adriatic, and the gift of 
Bleichroder the banker — gave a topic for further conversa- 
tion, in which the Chief took part with the animation of a 
connoisseur. ' As I have already said, he is extremely fond 
of fish, and of water animals generally. 

From fish we pass to oysters, and after dwelling on their 
virtues, come to speak of bad oysters, which Lehndorff 
justly pronounces to be the most horrible things one can 

Lehndorff told us then of the fine hunting grounds and 
numerous foresters of Prince Pless. The King had lately 
asked him : " Tell me now, has the calhng out of your fores- 
ters inconvenienced you very greatly ? " " Oh, no, your 
Majesty," replied the Prince. " How many of them then 

246 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

were called out?" "Oh! only forty, your Majesty." I 
fancy that I came across a similar story some years ago, 
only, if I recollect right, the Prince was an Esterhazy, and 
the foresters shepherds. 

The Minister then spoke of his first journey to St. Peters- 
burg. He set off in a carriage, because at first no snow 
had fallen. Later on, however, there was a heavy storm, 
the road was completely buried, so that his vehicle only got 
along, and very slowly. He passed five days and six nights in 
the narrow carriage, without sleep, and at thirty degrees of 
frost, before he reached the first railway station. But the 
moment he was in the railway carriage he fell so fast asleep 
that when he arrived at St. Petersburg, after a ten hours 
journey, he fancied he had only stepped into the train five 
minutes before. 

"They had their good side, though, those days before 
railways," he went on ; " one had not so much to do then. 
The post-day only came round twice a week, and then we 
worked with might and main. But the moment the post 
was off we got on horseback again, and had a good time till 
next post." Some one observed that the work in the Em- 
bassies as well as in the Foreign Office had been increased 
far more by the telegraph than by the railway. This led 
the Chief to speak of the reports of ambassadors and diplo- 
matic agents generally, and he remarked that many of them, 
pleasant enough in form, contained nothing. " It is news- 
paper work, written just for writing's sake. Such, for 
example, were the reports of our Consul (name, unim- 
portant). I read them through, and am always thinking, 
' Now it must be coming.' But nothing comes. It sounds 
very nice, and one reads on and on. At the end, however, 
one finds that there really is nothing in it — it is all barren 
and meaningless." Another example is mentioned, a military 

XVIII.] A long ride at Kdniggratz. 247 

commissioner, who had also come out as an author. On 
him the Chief passed judgment. " It was thought he would 
do something, and in quantity he has done a good deal, and 
the form is good. He writes pleasantly, as he would for a 
newspaper, but when I get to the end of his reports, closely 
written in a small neat hand, there is positively nothing in 
them for all their length." 

Coming to speak once more of tiring journeys, and 
of long rides, he said, " That reminds me of the battle of 
Koniggratz — I was the whole day in the saddle, on my 
big horse. I particularly wished not to ride it, because it 
was so high, and gave me so much trouble to mount. In the 
end, however, I did so, and had no reason to regret it. It 
was an excellent beast. The long ride across the valley 
had made me very tired, and my seat and legs were very 
sore. But I had not overridden myself. In my whole 
life I have never done that; but when I sat down after- 
wards on a wooden bench and began writing, I felt as if 
I was sitting on something else — some strange substance 
between me and the bench. It was only the swelling 
produced by the long ride. 

"After Koniggratz we arrived late in the evening at the 
market-place of Horsitz. Here the word was that gentlemen 
were to look out for their own quarters. It was easier said 
than done. The houses were shut up, and we ought to have 
had pioneers at hand to break open the doors. But they 
would not have come to their work till five o'clock in the 
morning." " Your Excellency got over that difficulty at 
Gravelotte," remarked Delbriick. "Well, I went then," 
proceeded the chief with his story, " to several houses 
in Horsitz — three or four, and at last I found a door open. 
When I had gone in a few steps I fell into a sort of 
wolf s-trap on the floor. Luckily it was not deep, and I 

248 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

was convinced there was horse-dung in it. At first I 
thought ' how would it do to stay here ' ? but I soon became 
aware by the smell that there was something else there ; 
and, strangely enough this occurred to me among other 
things : ' If the hole had been twenty feet deep, and full, 
they would have had to look in the morning a long time 
for their Minister.' Well, I got out again, and found a 
place under the arcades of the market-place. There I laid 
down a couple of carriage cushions for myself, made a 
pillow out of a third, and settled myself to sleep. When I 
had lain down, my hand came in contact with something wet ; 
and when I examined it I found it was a product of the 
country. Later on some one woke me. It was Perponcher, 
who told me the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg had a shelter 
for me, and a bed into the bargain. That was all right, only 
the bed was a child's bed. I stretched myself straight out, 
put the back of a chair at my feet, and fell asleep. But in 
the morning I could scarcely stand, from lying with my 
knees on the chair-back. If only one has a sack of straw, 
one can make oneself comfortable, even if there is very 
little in it, as often happens. You cut it open in the middle, 
shove the straw back, and lie in the trough thus formed. 
I have sometimes done that in Russia, when out hunting.'' 
" That was when the despatch came from Napoleon," ob- 
served Bohlen, " and you promised you would pay the Gaul 
out for it when an opportunity came." 

Finally the Chief said, " The day before yesterday Favre 
told me that the first shell which reached the Pantheon had 
knocked the head off the statue of Henri Quatre." " That 
must have affected him very much ? " asked Bohlen. " Oh, 
dear, no ! " replied the Chief. " I am inclined to think 
that he mentioned it as a democrat, glad that it should have 
happened to a king." "Well," said Bohlen, "this is the 

XVIII.] A nother Interview "with Favre. 249 

second bad time the king has had ; the French stabbed him 
in Paris, and we have beheaded him there." 

The dinner lasted this evening unusually long, from half- 
past five till after seven, and every moment Favre was 
expected back from Paris. After half-past six he came 
at last, again accompanied by his son-in-law with the 
Spanish name. Neither of them seems to have struggled 
against eating more than the first time. Like reasonable 
people they did justice to the good things set before them. 
One may conclude that in the main point which is being 
discussed they have either hearkened, or will hearken, to the 
voice of reason. That will appear when Favre again confers 
with the Chancellor in young Jessd's room. 

After dinner I read drafts. Orders are sent out to Reims 
prescribing the course of procedure in the collection of taxes. 
Arrears are to be demanded of the communities at the rate 
of five per cent, increase for every day on the amount due. 
Flying columns with artillery are to present themselves at 
places which show themselves obstinate, to order them to 
pay at once. If they don't do so without delay, they are 
to proceed to bombard and burn the place. Three ex- 
amples would make a fourth unnecessary. It is not our 
business to win the French by mildness, or to care for them. 
Judging by their character it is far more essential for us to 
infuse into them a greater terror of us than they have of 
their own government, which is also bringing stringent 
measures to bear upon them. On the night before last the 
Reds in Paris made a daring rush, set some of their ring- 
leaders free from prison, and then got up a fight in front 
of the Hotel de Ville. The National Guard fired upon the 
Garde Mobile, killed some, and wounded others, but quiet 
at last was restored. This information is to be relied on. 

About ten o'clock, when Favre was still here, a brisk 

250 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

fire of heavy artillery began, which lasted^ about an hour. 
After half-past ten I went down into the tea-room, where I 
found Hatzfeld and Bismarck-Bohlen talking to del Rio. He 
is a man of middle height, with a full dark beard, a bald 
patch on his crown, and an eye-glass on his nose. Soon 
after my entrance, he went home to his quarters at Stiebefs, 
accompanied by Mantey, and a quarter of an hour later 
Favre followed him. Del Rio spoke of Paris as the centre 
of the world ; so that in thja bombardment the centre of 
the world is our bull's-eye. He said that Favre had a villa 
in Rueil, and a large cellar in Paris full of all kinds of wines, 
and that he himself had a property in Mexico, of a hundred 
and twenty square miles. After Favre left, the Chief came 
down to us, ate some cold partridge, ordered back a 
slice of the ham, and drank a bottle of beer. After a 
while he sighed, pulled himself straight, and said, " Ah, if I 
could only, settle things myself and give my orders." He 
was silent a minute, then went on. " The wonder to me is 
that they do not send out a General. It is hard to make him 
understand military matters." He gave a couple of French 
words : " That means the mound in front of the trench on 
the outside," then another two : " and that is the inner side. 
He did not know that." " Well, I 'hope you found he had 
had a reasonable dinner to-day." The Chief said. Yes, and 
Bohlen remarked here that a rumour had spread below that 
this time he had not even despised champagne, but drunk 
it like any one else. " Yes," said the Chief, " the day 
before yesterday he refused it, but to-day he allowed some 
to be poured out for him. Even now, he had conscientious 
scruples about eating, but I talked him out of them, and 
hunger must have helped me ; for he ate quite like a man 
who has long fasted." 

Hatzfeld informed us that Rameau, the mayor, had been 

XVIII.] The Mayor of Versailles. 251 

here an hour ago to ask whether M. Favre was with us. 
He wished to speak to him, and to place himself at his dis- 
posal. Might he be allowed to visit him ? Hatzfeld said 
that he, of course, did not know. Hereupon the Chief 
observed : " Any one who comes in the night to a man who 
is going back to Paris, deserves to be brought before a 
court-martial.. Impudent fellow!" "Well," said Bohlen, 
" Mantey has no doubt already told Stieber. This M. 
Rameau probably has a longing to get back to his cell." 
(For writing in an impudent way about the arrangements 
for provisioning Versailles, he — with, I think, other magis- 
trates — had been obliged to make acquaintance for some 
days with the inside of a room in the prison of Saint-Pierre.) 
The Minister told us something of his interview with 
Favre. " I like him better than I did in Ferriferes," said he. 
" He speaks fluently, and in long, well-balanced periods — 
often one is not obliged to attend to or answer him. He 
told some stories of old times, and he tells a story very 
well." " He did not take my last letter at all amiss. On the 
contrary, he said he was indebted to me for pointing out 
what he owed to himself." " He mentioned also that he 
owned a villa near Paris, which, however, had been plun- 
dered and ruined. I had it on my tongue to say, ' Not by 
us though / but he at once added, of his own accord, that 
it might have been by the Garde Mobile." " He then com- 
plained that the town of Saint-Cloud had been burning for 
three days, and wanted to convince me that it was we who 
had set the castle there on fire." " Apropos of the Francs- 
tireurs and their misdeeds, he wished to refer me to our free 
companions in 1813, who had behaved far worse. I said 
to him, ' That I will not deny, but you must remember that 
the French shot them down whenever they could catch 
them. And they did not shoot them all at one time, but 

252 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

five at the place where the deed was done, then five more 
at the next halting-place, and so on, to spread terror.' He 
asserted that in the last action, on the 19th, the men of the 
National Guard who belonged to the better classes had 
fought best; the battalions taken from the lower classes 
of the population being of least worth.'' 

The Chief was silent for a time, and wore a thoughtful 
expression. Then he went on, " If at first the Parisians 
get a supply of provisions, then are again put upon half 
rations, and have to starve a little, that will work, I think. 
It is just the same with flogging. If a man gets too many 
lashes one after the other, not much effect is produced. 
But when the flogging is stopped for a time, then begun 
again, it is very disagreeable. I know that from the 
criminal court in which I used to work. There flogging 
was still practised." 

The conversation then passed to flogging, generally ; and 
Bohlen, who regards it as useful,* observed that even the 
EngUsh had re-introduced it " Yes," said Bucher ; " first, 
for personal assaults upon the Queen — on some occasion 
when some one struck at her — then for garotters." The 
Chief then told how in 1863, when they infested London, 
he had often had to pass, after 12 o'clock at night, from 
Regent Street to his house in Park Street, through a 
lonely lane where there was nothing but stables and heaps 
of horse litter. To his horror, he read in the papers that 
several such attacks had taken place in that very lane. 

After a while he said : " That is an unheard-of pro- 
ceeding on the part of the English ! They wanted (Odo 
Russell intimated as much, but the Chief refused it, as not 

* Expressing thereby the feeling of nine-tenths of the German people 
— I mean the actual people, not the people of the liberal press and 
the public meetings. ^ 

XVIII.] The Luxemburg Question. 253 

permissible) to send a gunboat up the Seine, as they say, 
to fetch away such of the English families there as wished to 
come. They really want to see whether we have laid down 
torpedoes." " They are out of humour because we have 
fought great battles here, and won them by ourselves. 
They grudge the little, shabby Prussian his rise in the 
world. They look upon us as a people who are only here 
to make war for them, and for pay." 

He was again silent for a while, then said : " I remember 
when I was in Paris in 1867, I thought, 'How would it 
have been had we let ourselves out about Luxemburg — 
should I be now in Paris, or the French in Berlin?' I 
believe that I was right in advising against it at that time. 
We were not then, by a long way, so strong as we are 
now. At that time the Hannoverians were not in the 
way of making such good soldiers as they do now. Of 
the Hessians I will say nothing of course. The Schleswig- 
Holsteiners, who have now fought like lions, at that time 
had no army at all. The Saxon army was broken up, and 
would have had to be reconstructed ; and of the South 
Germans little was to be expected. What admirably prac- 
tical fellows the Wiirtembergers are now ! In 1866, every 
soldier would have laughed to see them march into Frank- 
fort like a militia. The Baden men, too, were in a poor 
way, and the Grand Duke has done much since then." 
" Of course pubHc opinion in Germany would have been 
with us, if we had wished to make war about Luxemburg. 
But it was not enough to make up for these shortcom- 
ings. And then the right was not on our side. I have 
never openly admitted it, but I may say so here : after the 
breaking-up of the German Confederation the Grand Duke 
became sovereign, and could do what he chose. His 
wishing to sell his dominions was mean, but he could have 

254 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

sold them. And our rights of occupation were not at all 
clear. We certainly were not entitled after the breaking-up 
of the confederation still to occupy Rastatt and Mainz. 
I said so in council, and I had then the idea of giving 
Luxemburg to Belgium. We should thus have connected 
it with a country on behalf of whose neutrality England, as 
was then thought, would step in. And we should, more- 
over, have strengthened the German element against the 
Fransqidllons, and secured a good frontier to boot. But I 
found no support in this." 

When the Minister left us, some one remarked that he 
had said nothing at all about the other side of the question. 
The French were not at that time so well-prepared for war 
as now. Their military stores had been exhausted by the 
war with Mexico, and the army was not yet provided with 
Chassepots. However, the reasons by which the Chief 
justified his moderation seem to me considerably to out- 
weigh others. 

About two o'clock in the morning, as I finished writing 
down this conversation, the heavy artillery in the north 
were still thundering, shot after shot, and Mont Val^rien in 
particular hammering away like a Vulcan. 

Thursday, January 26. — Bright weather, and again rather 
cold. Vigorous firing, while I was still in bed. To my 
jottings of last night I have to add an interesting speech of 
the Chancellor's. When at tea Bismarck-Bohlen said, " That 
is a happy idea, the picture in Kladderadatsch ; Napoleon 
waiting for the train and saying, 'There is the whistle.' 
He has his ermine cloak round him for the journey back 
to Paris, and his travelling-bag in his hand." "Yes," 
replied the Chief; " so he really thinks, and he may be 
right. But I fear he will be too late in jumping in. At 
the end there may be no other way. It may be easier than 

XVIII.] Marie's Excitement. 255 

Favre can be got to believe. But he will need half the 
army, to establish his authority." 

At this point I may also mention the patriotic fury 
displayed on the morning before last by the", gardener's 
wife, who cleans out my room and makes the bed. Her 
name is Marie Lodier, a little person, of somewhat hectic 
appearance, with large dark eyes, rather lively and sprightly, 
tliough she can neither read nor write. When I told her 
that Paris would now be in our hands in a few days, 
she utterly refused to believe it. "Paris," she said, "was 
impregnable, invincible, not to be subdued by artillery, 
though possibly by hunger. But if she were commanding 
inside," she continued, with flashing eyes, and in the utmost 
excitement, "she would not give it up, even if she had to 

About half-past ten the Chief went to the King. We 
meanwhile had ourselves taken, a large group, by a Berlin 
photographer in front of the garden side of the house; the 
Minister is to be introduced later into the middle foreground 
of the picture. After breakfast B. told me a number of 
amusing stories of the English court, especially of the 
Prince of Wales — a pleasant personage, which is a hopeful 
fact for the future — and may he be found to agree with his 
disagreeable countrymen ! 

About two o'clock, not long after the Chief had returned 
from the King, Favre came again. When he went away in 
about an hour's time to go back to Paris, we heard that it 
was decided he should come again at eight o'clock in the 
morning, with a general, to settle the military questions — 
the military questions, that is, connected with the Capitula- 
tion ! That then is the position ! Paris is giving in. The 
bombardment has done good service in the South, and still 
more in the North, and the bread-basket is getting empty. 

256 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

I go with L. to the town of d'Avray, where we see brisk 
firing proceeding in every direction. Short ruddy flashes dart 
from a French battery lying in the distant gloom. Our firing 
comes from the right hand, probably from Meudon. Again 
there seems to be burning in the town. We come back by 
Sfevres, where we notice marks of French shells on four 

When I told Hatzfeld of our excursion, he said, " I wish 
I had seen the Firing and the Burning ! This is probably 
my last opportunity. At night one could make the fire out 
much better, if one only knew where to go for it." I promised, 
if the Chief would give me leave, to go out with him this 
very evening, and give him a good view of it. (He went out 
later — with Bohlen, I think — but they saw nothing.) 

Mr. Hans von Rochow and Count Lehndorfif were present 
at dinner. The Chief spoke of Favre, and among other 
things said, " He told me, that on Sundays the boulevards 
were still crowded with well and gaily dressed ladies with 
pretty children." I replied, ' I wonder they have not eaten 
you up before this.' It was then mentioned that to-day the 
bombarding had gone on with unusual vigour, and the 
Minister remarked, " I remember we once had an under- 
ofiicial in our Court — Stepki, I think his name was — ^who 
had to look after the flogging. He had a way of always 
applying the three last lashes with special force— as a whole- 
some reminder." The conversation passed to Stroussberg, 
and some one observed that he now was likely " to go to 
the dogs." On which the Chief said, " He once said to me, 
' I know I shall never die in my house.' But the crash need 
not have come so quickly. Perhaps not at all, except for the 
war. He always covered his advances with fresh bonds, and 
that worked — although other Jews, who had got rich before 
him, tried with all their might to spoil his game. Then 

XVIII.] Morny arrives in Russia. 257 

came the war, and down went his Roumanians, so low that 
they might be valued at so much the hundredweight. For 
all that, however, he is a clever fellow, and of restless 

The cleverness and restlessness of Stroussberg led some 
one to speak of Gambetta, who, he claimed to know, 
" had made his five millions out of the war," a statement 
which others of the guests, I think, reasonably doubted. 
After the Dictator of Bordeaux came Napoleon, of whom 
Bohlen said it was asserted that he had saved at least fifty 
millions during the nineteen years of his reign. " Others 
say eighty," added the Chief " I look upon it as doubtful. 
Louis Philippe spoiled the game. He allowed emeutes to 
be got up, and then bought on the Amsterdam Bourse, till 
at last the commercial world saw what he was driving at." 
Hatzfeld or Keudell remarked that the industrious King 
had fallen ill from time to time with the same object in 

It was then observed that under the Empire Morny in 
particular had known how to make money in every possible 
way, and the Chief told us " When he was appointed ambas- 
sador to St. Petersburg, he came with a whole long train of 
elegant carriages, and all his trunks, and chests, and boxes, 
full of laces, and silks, and woman's finery, for which as an 
ambassador he had not to pay duty. Every attendant had 
his own carriage ; every attache, or secretary, at least two, 
and he himself five or six. After he had been there a few 
days he • sold all his things by auction — carriages, and lace, 
and fineries. He is said to have made 800,000 roubles 
by it. He was unscrupulous, but a good fellow — in fact, he 
could be a very good fellow." He illustrated this by 
examples, then went on ; " In St. Petersburg, too, they had 

VOL. II. s 

2S8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

a very good notion of such things — the influential people, 
I mean. Not that they took money directly. But when 
any of them wanted anything, he went into a French shop 
and bought expensive lace, gloves, or jewellery, for thousands 
of roubles. But the shop was carried on in the interest of 
the official they wanted to get at, or his wife." 

He then told us once more, but in rather a different form, 
the story of the Finn from whom he had wanted to buy 
wood. " He was at first quite willing to let me have it," 
said he. " Probably he took me for a merchant or some- 
thing like it, from the Baltic. But when I told him it was " 
(a Russian word) " for the Prussian Embassy, he was startled ; 
he was evidently very uneasy. He asked whether the " 
(Russian word) "was for the Crown? Perhaps Prussia 
was a province of the Russian empire? I told him, not 
quite that, but the Embassy had to do with the Crown. 
That was imprudent and undiplomatic; it clearly did not 
satisfy him, and it was no good my offering to pay him on 
the spot. He undoubtedly feared that I should extort the 
money from him again, and that he would be clapped in 
prison into the bargain and flogged." After giving an 
instance of that being done, he ended, " The next morning 
he did not come back.'' 

Bohlen called across the table, " Pray tell the good story 
of the Jew with the worn-out boots, who got five-and- 
twenty." " Yes," said the Chief, " that was so. One day 
there came into our Chancery a Jew, who wished to be 
conveyed back to Prussia. But he was very ragged, and 
had particularly bad boots. He was told, yes, he should 
be taken back. But he wished first to have another pair of 
boots, claimed it as a right, and behaved so boldly and im- 
pudently, shrieking and using violent language, that the 
gentlemen of the office did not know what to do with him. 

XVIII.] The Jerv's New Boots. 259 

Even the servants did not feel safe with the raving fellow. 
At last, when the thing got too bad, I was summoned to 
give aid in person. I told him he must be quiet or I would 
have him locked up. He answered, defiantly, ' You cannot 
do it, for in Russia you have no such power.' ' We will see,' 
said I. ' I am bound to send you home ; but I feel no 
call to give you boots, though I might have done so, had 
you not behaved so outrageously.' I then threw open the 
window and beckoned to a Gorodowoy, or Russian police- 
man, who was stationed a little way off. My Jew went on 
shrieking and scolding till the policeman, a big strong fellow, 
came in. To him I said " (some Russian words, not trans- 
lated), " and the great policeman carried off the little Jew, 
and put him in prison. The morning after next he came 
back, quite a different man, and declared himself ready to 
go without new boots. I asked him how he had got on in 
the meanwhile. ' Badly — very badly ! ' ' What had they 
done to him ?' ' Ah ! they had — they had actually — ill-used 
him personally !' I expressed my regrets, and asked whether 
he would like to make any complaint. He preferred, how- 
ever, to start off at once : and I have never heard of him 

In the evening I studied drafts, while in the world without 
cannon were roaring, between nine and ten especially, 
louder than usual. The Chief was working alone in his 
room — probably upon the terms of the Capitulation and 
Armistice — and nothing was heard of him. Below it was 
rumoured that a negotiator from Napoleon at Wilhelmshohe 
was on his way to us. The ever-accumulating business has 
caused the despatch to Versailles of a fourth secretary, who 
has arrived to-day. He is a Herr Zesulka, who will be 
useful as a copyist and decipherer, though he is still un- 

s 2 

26o Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

In the tea-room towards half-past ten I came upon the 
Chief in conversation with the deputies von Koller and von 
Forckenbeck. The former was saying that we should soon 
want money again. " We did not intend to ask any more 
from the Reichstag," said he, " for we never thought the 
war would last so long. I wrote to Camphausen, but he 
advises requisitions and contributions. These, however, 
are difficult to collect, for we have not enough troops 
in proportion to the large extent of ground which we 
cover, to exercise compulsion. To hold a country two 
hundred and forty thousand miles square completely in 
hand, one wants two millions of soldiers. War has raised 
the price of everything. When we make requisitions, we 
get nothing. When we pay cash, enough always comes 
upon the market, and cheaper than in Germany. A bushel 
of oats here costs four francs, but imported from Germany, 
six. At first I thought of having the matriculation fees 
paid in advance. But that only yields twenty millions, 
while Bavaria has seventy-two millions to her own account. 
I then thought of the plan of applying to our Diet, to 
advance us a sum. Only first we must find out what we 
can squeeze out of the Parisians, that is out of the city of 
Paris, for it is with her only we have now to deal." 
Forckenbeck was of opinion that the Chiefs plan would 
meet with no insuperable difficulties in the Diet. Of 
course the Doctrinaires would oppose the claim, and others 
would say that Prussia must always be ready to help in 
return and make sacrifices for the rest, but we should in 
all probability have the majority, as Koller would confirm ; 
which he did. 

An officer of the dark blue hussars came in afterwards, 
an unusually handsome young fellow. He was a Count 
Arnim, who had just arrived from Le Mans, and had all 

XVIII.] End of the Bombardment. 261 

sorts of interesting news from there. The inhabitants of 
the place, he said, seemed very sensible people, who con- 
demned Gambetta's policy, and were always expressing 
their desire for peace. " Yes," replied the Chief, " that is 
very fine of the people, but how does it help us if, with all 
their good sense, they allow Gambetta to be constantly 
calling up from the earth fresh armies of 150,000 men with 
a stamp of his foot ? " And when Arnim told us further 
that a great many prisoners had been again taken, he 
remarked, " That does not please me. What are we to 
come to at last with thsm all ? Why do they make so many 
prisoners ? " 

Friday, January 27. — The bombardment ceased, they 
say, at twelve o'clock last night. It was, we are told, to 
have been resumed again, at six o'clock this morning, if the 
Parisian Government did not agree to our terms for the 
Armistice. As silence reigns, I presume the gentlemen 
have given in. But Gambetta ? 

In the morning I despatched a telegram upon the suc- 
cessful operations of our armies against Bourbaki. At half- 
past eight Moltke came, and was closeted with the Chief 
for about three-quarters of an hour. Shortly before eleven 
appeared the Frenchmen : Favre (who had cut short his 
grey demagogue's beard) with his pronounced underlip, his 
clear eyes and yellowish complexion ; General' Beaufort 
d'Hautpoule, with his adjutant Calvel, and a " chief of the 
engineers of the Eastern Railway," Diirrbach. Beaufort seems 
to have led the attack upon the fort at Montretout, on the 
19th. The negotiations of these gentlemen with the Qhief must 
have either been quickly brought to a point, or broken off; 
for soon after twelve, while we were seated at breakfast, 
they went out at the back of the house and got into the 
carriage which brought them here. Favre looks depressed. 

262 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

The General had a remarkably red face, and seemed not 
quite firm on his legs. This was noticed also by the others. 
Soon after the Frenchmen had gone, the Chancellor came 
in to us, and said, " I only want a little fresh air ; pray 
don't disturb yourselves, gentlemen." Then, turning to 
Delbriick with a shake of his head, he said, " There is 
no getting on with him ! Really not a responsible person, 
I beheve, a little tipsy. I told him he had better think it 
over till half-past one, and perhaps he may come to his 
senses. Hot-headed ! ill-mannered ! What does he call 
himself? Something like Boufifre or Bauffre?" " Beaufort," 
said Keudell. " Ah," said the Chief, " the name, but not 
the manners of a man of rank." The good general seems 
in fact — probably his ordinary capacities have been weak- 
ened by hung&r — to have attempted more than he could 
stand, and eaten too good a dejeuner. 

At breakfast it was mentioned that Fontenay, which was 
set on fire by our troops by way of punishment for the 
destruction of the railway bridge by the insurgent peasants, 
had been seen blazing by Forckenbeck, on his way here. 
Delbriick rejoiced with us " that at last once more a proper 
punishment had been inflicted." 

When I remarked to our gardener's wife to-day that now 
surely she would no longer doubt that the fall of Paris was 
at hand ; she must have seen the general who had come out 
to arrange matters, " This general " ishe answered, raging 
like an angry cat, " is a traitor " (she pronounced the word 
traitre like trait), "just like Bazaine and Napoleon, the 
Swine, who began the war with the Prussians before we 
were ready for it. All our- generals are traitors, and 
M. Favre is another. But wait till we have a firm Govern- 
ment, and make war on you again, then tous les Frussiens, 
capot, capot, capotf" ("All the Prussians are done for, done 

XVIII.] An English Letter to the Cha?tcellor. 263 

for, done for "). I remarked, " You will probably have your 
Emperor back in eight weeks." She answered, savagely, 
putting her arms a-kimbo, " Mais non. Monsieur ! He must 
stop in Germany. If he comes to Paris, we shall send him 
to the scaffold, and Bazaine too." Lastly, she said that 
France was ruined, and she and her family also, for 
Madame Jessd was " near" ; she had lost some of her pro- 
perty, and would no longer keep a gardener, but have her 
garden looked after by simple day labourers. Poor little 
woman ! Let us hope things turned out better. 

In the afternoon we heard that shortly before one o'clock 
the Chancellor had first gone to the King, and then called 
on Moltke, where besides Podbielski, he had again met the 
Frenchmen. The latter had gone back to Paris about four, 
and will come again to-morrow about twelve to conclude 
the Capitulation. I read a letter to the Chief with news- 
paper cuttings, which he handed over to me this morning to 
use at my discretion, and which contained much the same 
thing as English fools are always boring the Minister with 
in their sentimental epistles. It runs thus : 

" I send you cuttings from the Standard and the Times, 
in which you will see something of the cruel and inhuman 
conduct of the Prussians during this war. Would to God 
you could deny it 1 In this country our heart bleeds at the 
thought, and we wonder how the soldiers of a civilised 
nation can commit such frightful acts, and how their officers 
can allow, or even encourage, them. You, my lord Count, 
will one day, and that before very long, have to regret the 
horrible and diabolical way in which this most cruel war 
has been conducted." This letter was signed, " A Soldier — 
but no murderer.'' 

This " Soldier " was evidently not in the field in India 
against the Sepoys, and has not seen his countrymen in the 

264 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Crimean war burning down harmless Russian villages and 
towns on the Baltic. He has not even heard of these 
things. He has not even read his newspaper cuttings care- 
fully, or he could scarcely have missed seeing, in one of 
them, a report upon the reprisals made for the slaughter of 
the men of the Landwehr by the Garibaldians (neat 
Chatillon), and a remark by the writer, one of our artiller- 
ists, to the effect that " We are fighting no longer against 
the French army, but against assassins." 

Later on I went with L. to Bougival, where we inspected 
more closely the famous barricade at the end of the place, and 
noticed the ravages which the war had made, in some of 
the houses near Barrot's. Here things looked worse in 
some ways than at Barrot's, and the library in particular, and 
a collection of old maps in one of the houses, had come off 
very badly. The soldiers told us that the German batteries 
planted above the place, not being informed of the com- 
mencement of the armistice, had fired a number of shots 
this morning; We, however, had heard nothing of it, and 
the story probably arises from a simple rumour, founded 
on some misunderstood speech. 

At dinner the Chief said of Beaufort : " This officer be- 
haved like a man of no education. Blustering, and shouting, 
with great oaths, and his ' Moi, general de Tarmke fran^aise,' 
he was hardly to be borne. He was always playing the 
' plain soldier ' and the ' good comrade.' Moltke was once 
or twice impatient, and as things went he might have burst 
out fifty times." "Favre, whose own manners are not 'first- 
rate,' said to me, ^fen stds hiimilie P (I am ashamed of 
this.) However, it was drink, a common thing with him." 

" On the general's staff" it was believed that he had been 
chosen to settle matters, with the intention of letting it all 
come to nothing. 'On the contrary,' said I, 'they have 

XVIII.] The Land of Freedom. 265 

chosen him because it makes no difference to him that he 
will sink in public opinion for signing the Capitulation.' " 

He then told us : " At our last interview I said to Favre, 
in French, ' Vous avez He trahi — par la fortune ' (' You have 
been betrayed — by fortune '). He saw the point well 
enough, but he only said, 'To whom do you say that? 
Why, in three or four hours I also shall be numbered 
among the traitors.' He added that his position in Paris 
was a hazardous one. I proposed to him : ' Provoke an 
tmeute then, while you still have an army to suppresf it 
with.' He looked at me in horror, as much as to say, 
' What a bloodthirsty fellow you are !' He has, moreover, 
no idea of how things are with us. More than once he 
pointed out to me that France was the land of Freedom, 
while Despotism reigned with us. I had told him, for instance, 
that we wanted money, and Paris must let us have some. 
He said that we might raise a loan. I told him that could 
not be done without the Reichstag or Diet. 'What!' said he, 
'why, surely 500,000,000 francs could be raised without the 
Chamber.' ' No/ replied I, ' not five francs.' He could not 
believe it. But I told him I had had four years' experience 
of popular representation in time of war, and to raise a 
loan without the Diet had always been the point to which 
I had got, but it had never occurred to me to go beyond 
it. That seemed rather to shake him in his opinion. He 
only said that in France they would not stand upon 
ceremony (on ne se generait pas). Then he always came 
back to the assertion that France enjoyed infinite liberty. 
It is really very comical to hear a Frenchman talk like this — 
especially Favre, who has always belonged to the opposition. 
But they are constituted so. You may give a Frenchman 
iive-and-twenty (lashes). If only you make a fine speech at 
the same time about Liberty, and the Dignity of man which 

266 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

f it expresses, and make the appropriate attitudes, he imagines 
he is not being flogged." 

" Oh, Keudell," he then said, suddenly, " that reminds 
me : I must have in the morning a commission from the 
King — in German, of course. The German Emperor must 
only write German. His Minister may be guided by circum- 
stances. Official correspondence must be conducted in the 
language of the country, not in a foreign language. Bern- 
storff first decided to introduce this with us, but he carried it 
too far. He wrote in German to all the Diplomatists, and 
they all answered him — by arrangement of course — in their 
own languages- — Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and I know 
not what; so that he had to establish a regular swarm 
of translators in the bureau. I found matters in this 
state when I came into office. Budberg (the Russian 
ambassador in Berlin in 1858) sent me a note in Russian. 
That would not do. If they had wanted to revenge them- 
selves Gortschakoff would have been entitled to write in 
Russian to our ambassador in St. Petersburg. That would 
have been right enough. It is reasonable to wish that all 
the representatives of foreign Powers should understand 
and use the language of the country to which they are 
accredited. But for me in Berlin to answer a German 
letter in Russian was unreasonable. I made up my 
mind therefore — whatever comes in, that is not German, 
or French, or English, or Italian, remains as it is, and 
goes into the cupboards. Well, Budberg wrote reminder 
upon reminder, always in Russian. No answer ; the things 
were always passed on to the cupboard. At last came 
the man himself, and asked why he had had no answer. 
' Answer,' said I, in astonishment ; ' to what ? I have 
seen nothing from you.' Well, he had written four weeks 

\ ago, and sent several reminders since. ' Indeed ! Ah, 

XVIII.] The Rtiin of the Railways. 267 

now I think of it, there is a heap of documents in Russian 
writing, lying below ; they may perhaps be among those. 
But no one downstairs understands Russian, and whatever 
comes in, in an unintelligible language goes into the cup- ' 
board.' " It was then agreed, if I understand rightly, that 
Budberg was to write in French, and the Foreign Office 
might occasionally do so also. 

The Chief then began talking of the French negotiators, 
and said : " Monsieur Diirrbach has represented himself as 
a member of the administration of the Eastern Railway, and 
as having a great interest in it. Yes ; what would he say if 
he knew of our intentions ?" (He meant probably that the 
Eastern Railway was to be conceded to us.) Hatzfeld 
observed : " He clasped his hands above his head when 
it was pointed out to him on the staff-map what destruc- 
tion they themselves had done on bridges, tunnels, &c. 
' I have always spoken against that/ said he, ' telling people 
that a bridge can be put up again in three hours, only 
they would not Hsten.'" "Yes," added the Chief; "a 
bridge for us certainly; but the railway bridges with the lines 
along them ? They will find it hard to bring up provisions, 
especially if they have committed similar follies in the west. 
I suppose they count upon Brittany and Normandy, where 
sheep are in plenty, and upon the sea-ports. To my own 
knowledge there are many bridges and tunnels there, if they 
have only not destroyed them too. Otherwise they will be 
in a great scrape. I hope, too, that people in London will 
only send them presents of bacon, and not of corn." 

In this wise the conversation turned for a while upon the 
satisfaction of the Stomach of Paris. At last the Chief told 
us a little story of his " good friend Daumer who would hear 
nothing of death. We were once out hunting in the Taunus, 
and had just breakfasted. 1 called attention to the beautiful 

268 Bismarck 171 the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

view which the spot commanded. How prettily the village 
below lay among the trees, with its white church, and how 
lovely the churchyard looked beneath it! 'What?' asked 
he. ' I mean the graveyard there.' ' Ah ! let me alone 
with your graveyards ; you have quite ruined my appetite 
with them,' said he. ' How many sausages are there left ? ' 
said I. ' As many as you please ; I can eat no more.' The 
recollection of death had quite upset him." 

Saturday, January 28.— Like yesterday, it is rather 
cold, some four degrees of frost, and the sky is clouded. 
About eleven the French negotiators come in again : 
Favre, Diirrbach, two others who I suppose are also 
high railway officials, and two military men, another 
general with another adjutant, both stately persons of 
decorous bearing. They breakfasted with us. Then a 
long conference in Moltke's house. Afterwards the Chief 
dictates to his secretaries Willisch and Saint Blanquart two 
copies of the terms of the Capitulation and the Armistice, 
which are signed and sealed by Bismarck and Favre after- 
wards, at about twenty minutes past seven, in the green room 
next to the Minister's study. 

Meanwhile my time had been free, and I employed it in a 
walk to the castle of Meudon and the batteries there, in 
which L. and another Saxon, Kohlschiitter (belonging to 
the Government or the Civil Commissariat), joined me. 
The paved way through the wood had been very much 
broken up by our heavy artillery. At a little opening in 
the trees, where the paths cross one another, we passed a 
beautiful fir-tree. Farther on was a place arranged for an 
outpost; Barracks and walls pierced with loopholes were 
on the right, heaps of gabions and fascines on the left of 
the path. We pass through a door of open ironwork 
to the castle, on which the trees press closely, and which 

XVIII.] The Castle at Meudon. 269 

is surrounded at the back by a strong earthwork. Here 
we picked up some spUnters of the shells which had 
been flying about, and which had torn many holes in the 
trees and knocked off branches. The castle, a stately 
but not very ornamental building of two stories, with no 
projecting buttresses, had suffered very little on the outside. 
Only the front turned towards Paris and Issy shewed some 
conspicuous traces of shells, and the ground immediately 
in front was strewn with petards great and small. The 
inside of the building, the steps, halls, and rooms were 
terribly wrecked, full of debris and shreds of furniture, 
splinters and crushed glass. On the walls soldiers and 
other visitors had made attempts at writing up their names 
and their mockery of the Gauls in German and outlandish 

The terrace in front of the castle was upturned with 
pick and shovel, and converted into a sort of subterranean 
camp with deep ditches. In one of these had been set up 
a little block-house room with an oven, in which the field- 
telegraphist lived. In front, on the terrace, and imme- 
diately behind the stone breastwork, which runs round it 
towards the Parisian basin, was the battery with its high- 
mounted guns. We conversed for some time with the 
Prussian officer in command here, a very spruce and com- 
municative young warrior. Below us lay, partly on the 
slope of the hill and partly at its foot, the houses and 
streets of Meudon, still deserted by their inhabitants. On 
our right we looked across to the pleasant wooded glen of 
Clamart. Far away on our left the bend of the Seine shim- 
mered in the afternoon sun, and between the two, rather 
more towards the right on a bare piece of rising ground, 
rose in front of us. Fort Issy, the barracks of which had 
been reduced to ruins by our shells. 

270 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Returning to Versailles, I spent half an hour at the Hotel 
de Chasse with H. and F., who have both been made lieu- 

In the evening the Frenchmen dined with us. In conse- 
quence of the numerous company we sat farther apart than 
usual, and as the Parisian guests generally did not talk loud 
the conversation yielded little matter for jotting. The 
general (whose name was Valden) ate little, and hardly 
spoke at all. Favre, too, was dejected and sparing of his 
words. The adjutant, a M. d'Hdrisson, seemed not to take 
the matter so much to heart, and the railway ofiScials devoted 
themselves with praiseworthy zeal to the long-withheld 
eatables. As far as I could make out from their talk, dreadful 
scarcity has actually existed for some time in Paris, and in 
the past week the mortality, if I understood right, reached 
the total of about five thousand deaths. A great many 
children, especially between one and two years old, had died, 
and everywhere one met people with coffins for such little 
Frenchmen. " Favre and the general," said Delbriick after- 
wards, " looked like poor culprits, who are to-morrow to go 
to the scaffold. They made me sorry for them." 

Keudell is very hopeful about the conclusion of peace ; he 
thinks we may probably be back in Berlin in four weeks. 
Shortly before ten, a gentleman with a full beard and appa- 
rently between forty and forty-five, came in, who called himself 
Duparc, and was at once conducted to the Chief, with whom 
he remained for about two hours. He came, it is said, with 
proposals of peace from Wilhelmshohe. Capitulation and 
Armistice do not, then, mean quite the end of the war with 

Sunday, January 29. — A cloudy sky. Our troops march 
to occupy the forts. In the morning I read despatches upon 
the London conference, and other business, as well as the 

XVIII.] The Armistice. 271 

Armistice and Capitulation convention signed yesterday. The 
latter fills, in our copy, ten folio pages, and is sewn together 
with threads in the French colours, to the ends of which 
Favre has affixed his seal. The contents are briefly as fol- 
lows : An armistice of twenty-one days is agreed upon, which 
is to hold good over the whole of France. The contending 
armies maintain their positions, which are signified by a line 
of demarcation, defined in the memorandum of agreement. 
The object of the armistice is to enable the Government 
of National Defence to summon a freely-elected assembly 
of representatives of the French people, to decide the ques- 
tion whether the war is to be continued, or peace concluded, 
and on what conditions. The elections are to be perfectly 
free and undisturbed. The Assembly meets at Bordeaux. 

The forts of Paris are to be handed over to the German 
army, which is to occupy other parts of the outer line 
of defence of Paris up to an appointed boundary. During 
the armistice German troops are not to enter the city. 
The enceinte loses its guns, the carriages of which will be 
taken into the forts. The whole garrison of Paris and the 
forts, with the exception of 12,000 men, who are left to the 
authorities for service inside, become prisoners of war, and 
must, officers excepted, give up their arms and remain in the 
city. After the armistice has run out, in case peace is 
not then concluded, they are to give themselves up to the 
German army as prisoners of war. The Francs-tireurs will 
be disbanded by the French Government. The National 
Guard of Paris retain their arms, so as to preserve order in 
the city, and the same appUes to the gendarmes, the repub- 
lican guard, the excise officers, and the firemen. After the 
surrender of the forts and the disarming of the enceinte, the 
revictualHng of Paris will be allowed by the Germans. 
Only the provisions destined for this object must not be 

272 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

taken from regions occupied by our troops. Whoever 
wants to leave Paris must have a pass from the French 
mihtary authorities, with a vis'e by the German advanced 
posts. This pass and vise is to be given to those who 
wish to canvass the provinces, as well as to the deputies 
elected to the National Assembly at Bordeaux. The town 
of Paris pays within fourteen days a war-contribution of two 
hundred million francs (;^8, 000,000). During the armistice 
none of the public property which might contribute to this 
payment, is to be removed. During this time also the 
introduction of arms or ammunition into Paris is forbidden. 

Count Henckel, who has been appointed prefect in Metz, 
was present at breakfast. He maintaiiied that in his province 
the elections, after some five years or so, would turn out in 
favour of the government ! He would even pledge himself 
to bring that about. In Elsass, on the other hand, things 
did not promise so well, for the Germans were not so com- 
pliant to all authority as the French were. He told us also 
that his province had certainly suffered greatly. At the 
beginning of the war it had probably from 32,000 to 33,000 
horses, but now he believed it had not more than 5000. 
At breakfast the rumour was spoken of that Bourbaki had 
shot himself, in despair because he had had no success with 
his army against Werder, and was now forced to retreat 
before him and Manteuffel. 

In the afternoon I made an excursion to Petit Chesnay, 
where I wished once more to look up my friends of the 
Forty-sixth, who had marched in and halted there. I found 
an officer whom I did not know, who told me that the 
regiment had been ordered this morning to occupy Mont 
Valerien, which it had probably done by this time. Before 
dinner I again read drafts, and among them a letter in which 
the Chief explains to the King the impossibility of demand- 

XVIII.] Dogs, Cats, and Pigeons. 273 

ing from Favre, in addition to what he has granted, the flags 
of the French regiments interned in Paris. 

Count Henckel and the French adjutant of yesterday 
dined with us. The latter, whose full name is d'H^risson de 
Saulnier, wore a black hussar's uniform, with yellow epau- 
lettes, and embroidery on the fore arm. He is said to under- 
stand German, and to speak it, though the conversation, in 
which the Chief took an active part, was carried on mostly 
in French. To-day, when Favre and the General were not 
present— rthe former was in the house, but he was so busy he 
had his dinner taken to him in the little drawing-room — the 
Frenchman was even more lively, sprightly, and amusing than 
yesterday. For a long time he bore the whole burden of the 
conversation, telling us good stories and anecdotes one after 
the other. He stated also, that the starvation in the city 
had latterly been very much felt, though he appeared to 
know the cheerful, better than the serious aspect of it. He 
said that the period in the fast which he had found most 
interesting was when they "ate up the Jardin des Plantes.'' 
Elephant's flesh, he told us, cost 9 francs the pound, and 
tasted like coarse beef. Then there had been actually yf/^/ 
de chameau and cotelettes de tigre — on which, as on other 
points in his narrative, we made no remarks. The dog's flesh 
market was set up in the Rue Saint - Honor^, and a 
pound cost about a shilling. There were hardly any dogs 
now to be seen in Paris, and when one came round the 
corner three or four people at once started off' in chase. 
The same with the cats. Whenever a pigeon was seen on a 
roof the street was in a moment full of men anxious to catch 
it. Only the carrier-pigeons were spared. These carried 
the despatches in the middle of their tail-feathers, of which 
they ought to have nine. If one had only eight, it was at 


274 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

once said, " He's only a civilian, and he must go the way of 
all flesh." A lady is supposed to have said, " I shall never 
eat pigeon again; I should always be feeling that I had 
swallowed the letter carrier." 

In return for these and other stories the Chief told him 
various things that could not have been known of in the 
Paris clubs and salons, and which he might like to hear, 
as, for instance, the ordinary behaviour of Rothschild in 
Ferriferes, and the metamorphosis by which the Elector of 
Hesse had converted grandfather Amschel from a small Jew 
into a big one. He called him repeatedly " Juif de la cour," 
and thereby hit off a characteristic of the household Jews 
of the Polish nobility. 

After dinner I read drafts and reports ; among the latter 
a very interesting one, recommending that we should leave 
Metz and German Lothringen to the French, and appro- 
priate Luxemburg. The suggestion was declined, because 
we regarded Metz as indispensable for securing Germany 
against the French, and because the German nation would 
not tolerate any departure from the programme drawn up 
five months ago. 

Favre, with the other Frenchmen, stays till late. He does 
not go till about a quarter to eleven, and then not back to 
Paris, but to his lodgings in the Boulevard du Roi. He will 
come again to-morrow at noon. 

Later on the Chief came in to tea. The talk was of the 
capitulation and armistice. "But how," asked Bohlen, "if 
the others refuse — Gambetta and the Prefects in the South ? " 
" Well, in that case,'' replied the Chief^ " we have the forts, 
and with them control of the town. If the people in Bor- 
deaux do not accept the convention, we remain in the forts, 
and keep the Parisians shut up, and in that case may pos- 
sibly not prolong the armistice to the 19th of February. 

xviil.] The Duke of Pekin. 275 

Meanwhile they have given up their arms and gun-carriages, 
and must pay the contribution. It is always the worse for a 
man who has given a pledge like what Faust gave for his 
agreement, and then cannot keep it." 

Bohlen .then turned the conversation upon d'H^risson, and 
the bright and amusing way in which he had told us of the 
dog-hunts in Paris. He had been with them in China, and 
it was supposed that he had carried away a memorial or two 
from the Emperor's summer palace. He mentioned that 
on his way home from that country, Montauban, who 
was in great favour with the Emperor, and thought it 
probable he might be raised to a peerage, sent him, d'H^- 
risson, on in advance, in order to prevent his being made 
Count or Duke of Pekin, which, from the word peqtdn, might 
have given an opening for bad jokes.* He had accordingly 
been named Palikao, which meant "the bridge with nine 
arches,'' and was a place near which the troops of the French 
expedition had routed the soldiers of the Celestial Empire 
in -battle. It was then mentioned that Bourbaki had really 
intended to shoot himself, but had not injured himself 
mortally. The Chief afterwards remarked that Favre had 
admitted to him to-day that he had acted a little rashly in 
the matter of revictualling. He really did not know whether 
it would be possible to provide the many hundred thousands 
of people in the town with food in time. Somebody said, 
"Storch can hand over some oxen and flour in case of 
need." "Yes," replied the Chief, "that he must do, but he 
must see that we come to no harm by it." Bismarck-Bohlen 
thought we need not give them anything ; they might see for 
themselves where they could get it, and so on. " What ? 
said the Chief, " Do you want, then, to let them starve } " 

* Pequin in French military slang means " the civilian," with a touch 
of " the stay-at-home." 

T 2 

276 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" Certainly," said Bohlen. " Then," said the Chief, " how 
should we manage to raise our war contribution ? " 

In the course of further conversation he said : " Important 
State business and negotiations with the enemy do not worry 
me. If they make objections to my ideas and demands, 
even when I am unreasonable, I take it calmly. But the 
small wrangling of mere land-lubbers in political aifairs, and 
their ignorance of what is or is not possible ! First comes 
one and wishes this, then another who considers that indis- 
pensable. When you have got rid of them, up comes a 
third, an adjutant or adjutant-general, who says, ' But, 
your Excellency, that is impossible,' or ' We must have that, 
else — ' Why, yesterday they actually wanted a clause which 
had never been discussed to be inserted in a document 
already signed ! " 

Bohlen or Hatzfeld then recurred to another of d'H^ris- 
son's anecdotes. After the 4th of September the police- 
sergeants of Paris appeared in altered guise. Moustaches 
and imperials were cut off, and only a small peaceable- 
looking whisker left. The curl on the left ear was also gone, 
and the side arms, and the whole military uniform — all but 
the policeman's helmet. So it had been ordained by the 
democratic wisdom of Kdratry. All Paris laughed. The 
guardians of public order were instructed moreover always to 
parade the streets in threes. This went on for some weeks, 
when the order fell into oblivion, and they were always to 
be seen in pairs. When provisions had become scarce, the 
street wits said, " Look, there are two sergeants ; they must 
have eaten the third ! " 

Hatzfeld told us that a Spanish secretary of legation had 
been here, who had come from Bordeaux, and wanted to get 
into Paris. He wished to fetch out his countrymen, had 
with him a letter from Chambord to Favre, and seemed in 

XVIIL] The Spanish Envoy. 277 

a great hurry. What is to be said to him ? The Chief bent 
forward a little, then sat upright again, and said, " The 
attempt to carry, despatches tlirough our headquarters from 
one member of the hostile government to another is matter 
for a court-martial. When he comes again treat the matter 
very seriously, be cool, look astonished, and tell him what I 
liave said, and that we shall bring against the new King of 
Spain the charge of violating neutrality, and shall demand 
satisfaction. I wonder, too, how the military came to let 
him through. They always are absurdly over-respectful in 
dealing with foreign diplomatists. Even if he had been an 
ambassador, they ought to have turned him back, though he 
might have died of hunger and cold in consequence. Such 
letter-carrying borders very closely upon spying.'' 

We then talked of the general rush into and out of Paris 
that would likely follow. He replied, however, " Oh, the 
French will not let many out, and we only let those through 
who have a passport from the authorities inside — perhaps 
not even all of them." 

Some one then said that Rothschild had been supplied 
with a passport, and wanted to be let out. Thereupon the 
Chief remarked, " It would be a good thing to detain him 
as a Franc-tireur — to be reckoned among the prisoners of 
war." (To Keudell) : " Just find out about that." " Then 
Bleichroder will appear," cried Bohlen, " and beg on his knees 
in the name of the entire Rothschild family.'' Reference was 
then made to the surprising fact that an accurate resume of 
the convention signed yesterday was already to be seen in 
the Daily Telegraph. Then we talked of Stieber. 

" How often one is deceived about people," the Chief 
struck in. " I hardly recognise people till I hear them speak. 
When I went within the last few days to call upon Favre, I 
saw a man standing before the door in the dusk, who made 

278 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

me uncomfortable. I thought it must be his son-in-law's 
servant who was lounging about there, for he looked like 
a Spaniard. When he came up to me I half drew my sword 
so as to have it ready. Then he greeted me : ' Good 
evening, your Excellency,' and when I examined him 
more closely, it was Stieber." 

Monday, January 30. — A foggy morning, moderately 
cold, somewhere about freezing-point. Favre seems not 
to have stopped in Versailles, but, late as it was, to have 
gone back to Paris. I despatch various telegrams to 
Berlin, Cologne, and London, concerning our completed 
occupation, without hindrance, of the forts of Paris, the 
possibility of a famine there, the difficulty of bringing pro- 
visions quickly from a distance, and our readiness to avert 
the momentary danger by the use of our own stores. 
Warning, too, is to be given in the press against a rush 
to the headquarters. 

I went out in the afternoon with L. to the bridge at Sfevres, 
and thence as far as Bellevue on the way to Meudon. On 
the road there, which at the end rises very steeply from the 
river, we saw hardly anybody but soldiers. A barrier, 
guarded by riflemen, prevents our further progress. We 
learn from the soldiers, to our astonishment, that the castle 
at Meudon is in flames. A French shell seems to have hit 
the wall of one of the rooms during the last few days of the 
bombardment, remained sticking there, and later on been 
exploded by accident. Probably the accident was due to 
some carelessness. It will, however, make a lovely ruin, 
something like the castle at Heidelberg. 

Favre, and other Frenchmen, such as the President or 
Prefect of the Paris police, were again working busily 
with the Chief in the afternoon, and dined at half-past five 
with him and the Councillors. The secretaries and I 

XVIII.] Served and not Dommated. 279 

were to dine this time in the Hotel des Reservoirs, there 
being no room for us at table. I, however, stayed at 
home, translated Granville's latest peace proposals for the 
Emperor, and then dined in my room. 

Abeken came up to me in the evening, to fetch away the 
translation. He expressed regret that he had not known I 
was in, or they would have made room for me below. It 
was a pity I had not been there, as the conversation had 
been particularly interesting. The Chief had said, among 
other things, to the Frenchmen, that consistency in politics 
often became simply blundering, obstinacy, and self-will. 
One must be ruled by facts, by the position of things, and 
by probabilities, taking into account the conditions, and 
serving one's country according to circumstances, and not 
following one's own opinions, which are often mere prejudices. 
When he first entered upon political life, as a green young 
man, he had had very different ideas and aims. But he had 
changed, his mind after thinking the matter over, and then 
had not shrunk from sacrificing his own wishes, if anything 
was to be gained thereby, to the necessities of the day. One 
must not force one's own inclinations and wishes upon one's 
country, he said further, and then concluded, " Lapatrie 
veut etre servie et pas doraine'e,'' This saying made a great 
impression upon the Parisian gentlemen (particularly, of 
course, its form), and Favre said, " C'est bien juste. Mon- 
sieur le Comte, c'est profond !" Another Frenchman ex- 
claimed with equal enthusiasm, " Oui, messieurs, c'est un 
mot profond !" Bucher, while confirming this report, told 
me further that Favre had been foolish enough to follow up 
the Chiefs speech — which had, of course, been intended to 
convey a hint to the French, as many earlier sayings had been 
aimed at other guests — and his own praise of its truth and 
profundity, by saying, " Nevertheless it is a fine thing to see 

28o Bismarck in the Franco- German War. [Chap. 

a man who has never changed his principles." The railway 
director, too, whom Bucher, however, thought a far shrewder 
person than Favre, had added, a propos of the expres- 
sion " servie et pas dominde," that this of course would 
imply the subordination of individual genius to the will and 
opinion of the majority, and majorities had always shown 
but little understanding, experience, or character. To this, 
however, the Chief answered finely, in a sense which showed 
conclusively his consciousness of responsibility before God 
as one of his guiding stars. In opposition to the claims 
of genius, exalted by the former speaker, he said that duty — 
by which he meant what is defined by Kant as the Cate- 
gorical Imperative — is the weightier and more excellent of 
the two. 

Late in the evening — it was past eleven— the Chief came 
down to take tea with us. There were assembled on this 
occasion, besides Wagner and myself. Barons Holnstein and 
Keudell, and a regular shoal of counts : Hatzfeld, Henckel, 
Maltzahn, and Bismarck-Bohlen. The Chief remarked, " I am 
still curious to know how Gambetta will take it. Gambetta 
— the Italian partner ! — the smallbone d- I'ltalienne!^ He still 
seems to intend thinking over it ; for he has not yet answered. 
I fancy that he, too, will give in in time. However if he does 
not, there is no harm done. A little of the line of the Maine 
business in France would be by no means unacceptable." 
Then he continued, " These Frenchmen axe really the oddest 
fellows. Favre comes to me with the face of an injured 
saint, and an air of having the most important communi- 
cation to make. When I notice it I say, ' Shall we go 
upstairs ?' ' Yes,' says he, ' by all means.' Once up there 
he sits down and writes letter after letter, and I wait in 

* Gambetta is the name of a little long-legged stork, or marsh-bird, 
of the heron tribe. 

XVIII.] Danger of Famine. 281 

vain for any important utterance or information. He had 
nothing at all to say to me." " Two small pages of note- 
paper would contain all that he has done here.'' "And 
this Prefect of Police ! I never in my life saw a more im- 
practicable fellow. We have to advise and assist him in 
everything. In a single half-hour he made me requests of 
every possible kind, till at last I almost lost patience, and 
said to him : ' But, my dear sir, had you not better give it 
me in writing? It is impossible for me to carry everything 
in my head, and it is only in this way that the matter can 
profitably be settled. Thousands of things pass through my 
brain, and when I begin thinking carefully about one of them, 
I lose sight of the others.' " 

We then spoke of the difficulties which we should in 
all probability afterwards encounter in providing the Paris- 
ians with food. Several of the railways, for the time at 
least, are not available. To draw provisions from the parts 
of France lying behind those which we occupy, might 
bring ourselves into want and embarrassment, and the 
harbour of Dieppe, which was counted upon for supplies 
from foreign countries, was only fit for small ships. The 
Chief calculated roughly how many portions a day would be 
needed, and about how many could be brought in, suppos- 
ing that the conditions were not too abnormal, and found 
that the supply could only be a scanty one, and that many 
people may yet have to succumb to hunger. He added, 
" Favre himself told me they had held out too long. But 
he admitted it was only because they knew there were stores 
in our hands ready for them in Lagny. They were quite 
correctly informed about this. We had there for them at 
one time about 1400 loaded waggons." 

The talk then turned upon the difficulties we encountered 
in collecting the taxes and contributions, and the Chief 

282 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

explained to Maltzahn what arrangements he had made ac- 
cordingly. " We must, as far as possible," he added, " avoid 
scattering our troops, keep them together as a rule at the 
chief places in the Departments or Arrondissements, and 
from these centres operate with flying columns against the 
refusers of taxes, the free companions, the people who hide 
away their property, and all their accomplices." 

Some one spoke of the ten million francs which had been 
imposed upon the district of Fontenay on account of the 
destruction of the railway bridges, and Henckel declared, 
with an air of authority, that it was a demand that could 
not be met ; they would not be able to wring two millions 
out of the people. " Probably not one," said the Chief. 
" But it is our way. We have always been threatening all kinds 
of horrible things, and then been unable to carry them out. 
The people notice this at last, and get used to our threats." 

Count Maltzahn told us he had been to Fort Issy. It 
looked very horrible there, holes, coals, splinters, and 
rubbish, and above all heaps of filth, and an abominable 
smell. " Had they no latrirjes ?" asked some one. " Ap- 
parently not," answered Maltzahn. "Ove? dove volete, as 
the Italians say," remarked another. " Yes, they are an 
uncleanly people, the French," said the Chief, reminding us 
of the horrible arrangements in the town school-house at 
Clermont, and the similar state of things at Donchery. 

Then followed a very interesting and detailed account of 
the various phases of the scheme for uniting the South 
German States with the Northern Confederation. " At 
last, after many difficulties," he went on to say, " we came 
to deal with the Bavarians, and people said, ' Now there is 
only one wanting' — but that was the most important of 
all. I saw a way out of it, and wrote a letter ; then a high 
Bavarian official did good service. In fact, he almost 

XVIII.] Jacoby in Rhinoceros Cutlets. 283 

accomplished an impossibility. He made the journey, 
there and back, in six days, eighty miles without a rail- 
way, and up the mountain to the Castle where the King 
was living. All the while his wife was ill. Yes, it was a 
great thing for him to do." 

In the course of conversation the imprisonment of Jacoby 
was mentioned, and the Chief observed, " Falkenstein 
behaved very reasonably, but that measure of his was the 
reason why we were unable to summon the Diet four weeks 
earlier, as he would not consent to let Jacoby go when I asked 
him. If he had eaten him in rhinoceros cutlets, well and 
good ; but to put him in prison — he could get nothing out of 
that but an old dried-up Jew. Other people, too, would at first 
listen to none of my remonstrances, so we had to wait ; for the 
Diet would have had a right to insist on his liberation." 

The conversation drifted from Jacoby to Waldeck, whom 
the Chief described as of " a similar disposition to Favre, always 
logical, and true to principle, with his opinion and conclusion 
ready made beforehand; a handsome figure ; a white venerable 
beard ; phrases in the chest tones of conviction, even about 
trifles. That impressed people. In a voice which quite 
shook with the earnestness of his feeling, he would declare 
that this spoon here was in this glass, and proclaim that 
every one who would not admit it was a scoundrel. Every 
one admitted it and praised him in all possible keys for the 
energy of his nature." 

Ttiesday, January 31. — In the morning I telegraphed 
various small successes in the South-Eastem departments, 
where, by agreement, the armistice does not at present hold 
good. The King of Sweden has delivered a warlike sounding 
speech from the throne. Wherefore, ye gods ? I prepare 
two articles by command of the Chief, and then a third, 
describing the sufferings endured through the siege by a 

284 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

number of unoffending German families, who for one cause 
or another had remained in Paris during the siege; and 
mentioning with praise the services in alleviating the lot 
of these unfortunates rendered by Washburne, the United 
States ambassador. His conduct in this respect is really 
most worthy of our gratitude, and his subordinates faithfully 
seconded his efforts. 

The Parisian gentlemen are here again, with Favre, 
who is urgently entreating Gambetta, by telegram, to 
give in. It is to be feared that he will not do so. The 
Prefect of Marseilles at least has mounted the high horse, 
and snorted down upon poor Favre the patriotic speech : 
" Je n'obeis k capitule de Bismarck. Je ne le connais plus.'' 
(" I owe no obedience to the man who has capitulated to 
Bismarck ; I know him no longer.") Proud and valiant ; 
but it is well to be far away from the firing. It is not yet 
certain whether Bourbaki has shot or only wounded himself : 
his army, however, is clearly in a bad way. It will turn out 
to have been made up like the other creations of the Dictator 
of Tours. 

Our Frenchmen again dine with the Chief, and I with 
Wollmann at the Hotel des Reservoirs, where we see at 

table, among others, the Marquise with some young 

lieutenants. She is the fair-haired, spare, and rather free- 
living lady I have already met with her dogs several times 
in the streets and in the Park. She came from London, and 
is serving under the Geneva Cross. 

We have again several degrees of frost. Bucher told 
me at tea that the Chief spoke strongly again at dinner 
about that old visionary. Garibaldi, whom Favre declared 
to be a hero. In the evening Duparc is with the Minister. 
After ten o'clock the latter came down and sat with us. 
He began talking directly about the unpractical character of 

XVIIL] Male and Female Europe. 285 

the Frenchmen who had been working with him lately. 
Two Ministers — Favre, and the Finance-Minister, Magnin, 
who had come out with him this time — had actually spent 
half an hour toiling over a telegram. He then took occasion 
to speak of the French generally, and the whole Latin race, 
and to compare them with the German nations. " The 
Teutonic, or Germanic race," said he, " is, so to speak, the 
masculine element, which goes all over Europe and fructifies 
it The Celtic and Slav peoples represent the female sex. 
The former element extends up to the North Sea, and across 
it to England," I ventured to say: " Even to America; to 
the Western States of the Union, where men of our race are 
the best part of the population, and influence the morale 
of the rest." " Yes ; these are its children, its fruits," replied 
he. " We have already seen in France what the Franks are 
worth.. The Revolution of 1789 meant the overthrow of 
the German element by the Celtic ; and what is the result ? 
" In Spain, too, the Gothic blood long preponderated ; and 
the same in Italy, where the Germans had also taken the 
lead in the northern provinces. When that died away, 
farewell to order. It was much the same in Russia, where the 
German Warager, the Ruriks, first gathered. If the national 
party were to overcome the Germans who have settled there, 
or those who cross over from the Baltic provinces, the people 
would not remain capable of an orderly constitution." " Cer- 
tainly things don't as a matter of course, go straight, even 
with full-blooded Germans. In our South and West, for 
example, when they wei'e left to themselves there was 
nothing but Knights of the Empire, Towns of the Empire, 
and Villages of the Empire, each for itself, so that the 
whole thing went to pieces. The Germans are all right 
when they are united by compulsion or by anger — then they 
are excellent, irresistible^ invincible — otherwise every man 

286 Bis7narck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

'gangs his ain gate.'" "After all, a kindly, upright, and 
sensibly-conducted absolutisnTis the best form of govern- 
ment. Unless there is something of that kind everything 
goes wrong ; one man wishes one thing, another another, 
and there is perpetual hesitation, perpetual delay." " But we 
have no longer any thorough-going Absolutists. They have 
gone — the species has died out." I took the liberty to tell 
him that when I was a small child I had imagined the king 
to be like the king on German cards, with crown and ermine, 
sceptre and ball, stiff, gaily-dressed, and always the same, and 
I had been bitterly disappointed when my nurse took me 
one day to the walk between the castle at Dresden and the 
Catholic Church, and pointed out a little, crooked, feeble 
old man as King Antony. " Yes," said the Chief, " the 
peasants also about -us had the most extraordinary ideas. 
There is a story that some of us — ^young people— were 
assembled in a public place, and had said something against 
the King, who was present incognito. Suddenly he stood up, 
threw open his cloak, and showed the star on his breast. 
The others were frightened, but I was believed not to have 
cared, and to have treated him rudely. For this I would 
have got ten years' imprisonment, and not been allowed to 
shave. Well, I grew a long beard at that time, to which 
I had been used in France in 1842, when the fashion came 
in, and the story went that every year on St. Sylvester's 
Eve the executioner came and cut it off. This story was 
told by well-to-do and in other respects not stupid country 
people, who repeated it, not out of spite to me, but quite 
in good faith, and full of pity for the poor young man." 

A propos of this myth it was said that even to this day 
sayings spring up, with little or no foundation in fact. In 
this connection I said, " Might I ask, your Excellency, 
whether there is any truth at all in the story of the beer- 

XVIII.] The Beer-jug Story. 287 

jug, which you are supposed to have broken in two over 
some one's head in a Berlin public-house, because he had 
insulted the Queen^ or had refused to drink to her ?" 

" Yes,'' replied he^ " but the circumstances were different, 
and there were no politics in the matter. I was going home 
late one evening — it must have been in the year 1847 — when 
I met a man who had had too much^ and wanted to pick a 
quarrel with me. When I upbraided him for his offensive 
language I found he was an old acquaintance. I think it 
was in the Jagerstrasse. We had not met for a long time, 
and when he proposed to me to go to such-and-such a place 
I went with him, though he had clearly had enough. After 
we had our beer, however, he fell asleep. Well^ near us was 
a party of people, one of whom had also had more than was 
good for him, as was evident from his boisterous behaviour. 
I was quietly drinking my beer. My being so quiet vexed 
him, so he began to taunt me. I sat still, and that made 
him only the more angry and spiteful. He went on taunting 
me louder and louder. I did not wish for ' a row,' but I 
would not go lest they should think I was afraid. At last 
his patience seemed exhausted, he came to my table and 
threatened to throw the jug of beer into my face, and 
that was too much for me. I told him he must go, and 
when he then made a gesture as if to throw it, I gave him 
one under the chin, so that he measured his length on the 
floor, smashed the stool and the glass, and went clean to 
the wall. The hostess came in, and I told her she might 
make herself quite easy, as I would pay for the stool and 
glass. To the company I said, ' You see, gentlemen, that 
I sought no quarrel, and you are witnesses that I restrained 
myself as long as I could, but I was not going to let him 
pour a glass of beer over my head, because I had been 
quietly drinking mine. If the gentleman has lost a tooth 

288 Bismarck m the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

by it, I am sorry. But I acted in self-defence. Should 
any one want more, here is my card.' They turned out 
to be quite sensible people, who took much the same view 
of the matter as I did. They were indignant with their 
comrade, and said I was right. I afterwards met two of 
them at the Brandenburg Gate. ' You were present, gentle- 
men, I think,' said I, 'when I had the adventure in the 
beerhouse in the Jagerstrasse? What became of your friend? 
I should be sorry if he sustained any injury.' They had 
been obliged to carry him out. ' Oh,' said they, ' he is 
quite well and lively, and his teeth, too, are all right again. 
He kept very quiet, and was very sorry. He had just 
entered upon his year's service as a doctor, and it would 
have been very unpleasant for him had the affair come to 
the ears of people, especially of his superiors.' " 

The Chief then told us that, when a student in Gottingen, 
he had twenty-eight duels in three terms, and had always 
come well out of them^ " But once," said I, " your Excel- 
lency got hit. What was the name of the little Hannoverian 
— Biedenfeld ?" " Biedenweg,'' he replied ; " and he was 
not little either, but nearly as big as I was. But that only 
happened because his sword-blade, which was probably 
screwed in badly, came off. It flew into my face and stuck 
there. Otherwise I was never once hit. Once, however, in 
Greifswald, I came near it. They had introduced there a 
marvellous sort of head-dress — like a felt coffee-bag. They 
had broadswords too, to which I was not accustomed. Now 
I had taken it into my head that I would cut off the peak 
of my opponent's coffee-bag, and in so doing I exposed 
myself, and his stroke whistled quite close to my face j but 
I sprang back just in time." 

Wednesday, February i. — In the morning the sky was 
moderately clear, with a slight rain and sleet. At breakfast 

XVIII.] The Capitulation of Belfort. 289 

we are told that Gambetta has consented to the armistice, 
but expressed surprise that the French are still being at- 
tacked by us in the South. Of course, Favre, in his un- 
businesslike way, has omitted to telegraph to him that the 
war is kept up there by his own wish. We have company 
at breakfast Besides Privy Councillor Scheidtmann, of the 
Exchequer, a rather pecuKar gentleman, Count Donhoff (the 
blue and handsome, not the red and corpulent one), and 
" my nephew. Count York," honour us with their presence. 
It is said that none of the Frenchmen are coming out to-day. 
This was a mistake. About one, Favre appeared, and 
set to work for two hours upstairs with the Chief. Mean- 
while I went with L. through the Ville d'Avray, and the 
park of Saint-Cloud, to the town of that name, or, more 
properly speaking, to the heap of ruins to which the raging 
conflagration of the last few days has reduced it. On 
the way there I learn the welcome news that Belfort has 
capitulated, and that the remnant of Bourbaki's army, 80,000 
strong, and commanded by Clinchant, has retired before our 
troops into Swiss territory. So the war here also is ended, 
as Bismarck-Bohlen informed me on the stairs. 

In the Park of Saint-Cloud we saw, immediately behind the 
open ironwork gate at the entrance, under some trees on the 
left hand, a little neglected graveyard, with ten or twelve 
graves of German soldiers who had fallen there. Farther on 
we passed some more graves of the same kind, and a redoubt 
and a barricade stretched across the street. Under a bridge, 
crossing the road, tunnelwise, the troops had found quarters 
for themselves, as in a casemate. On the right and left as 
one enters the town, and at the edge of the wood, block- 
houses had been built against a wall, and behind them, in a 
long street, stands for cannon were put up. The town here 
consists first of broad streets of detached villas, surrounded by 

VOL. II. u 

2go Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

gardens ; farther on, of narrower streets, with rather tumble- 
down houses closely packed, and running finally down the 
hill-slope to the bank of the Seine. Without exception the 
villas were either wholly or partly burnt down. Of the more 
slightly-built ones only a level heap of bricks, slates, plaster, 
and coal remained. In the more confined streets of the 
inner town hardly anything was left standing but outside walls, 
and even these had fallen in here and there, bringing down 
with them the flooring of the different stories. On what 
remained of these were still to be seen standing book- 
shelves, plate-racks, writing-desks, washhand-stands, 8z:c., 
while pictures and mirrors hung on the papered walls. Whole 
house fronts, three stories high, were lying in the side and 
main streets, and others bending forwards or backwards, ap- 
parently ready to fall. Everywhere smoking ruins and the 
smell of burning. In three or four buildings flames still 
flickered about the chimneys, the framework of the walls, 
and the wooden dressings. The church, a newly-built 
edifice in a pleasing Gothic style, was uninjured, save for a 
few holes in the roof. All around was ruin — a frightful 
picture of the seriousness of war ! From the heights of the 
demolished town we had a lovely view of the valley of the 
Seine, of the bridge with one of its arches broken, and of 
the South side of Paris, with the Bois de Boulogne. We 
did not stop here, but hurried on to the castle, which before 
the war was Napoleon's summer retreat, nov/ also a 
silent heap of ruins. French shells had done it. Only the 
enceinte and a few of the partition walls were still standing. 
We scrambled through its heaps of rubble, climbed over 
the fallen remnants of ceiling and roof from room to room, 
wherever no further downfall seemed imminent, and carried 
away with us souvenirs from the prostrate marble capitals 
and mutilated statues. 

XVIII.] Garibaldi and Bismarck. 291 

As we went home to Saint-Cloud we met several small 
parties of people returning from Paris to their native villages 
with beds and household gear, and at Ville d'Avray a 
company of Prussian artillery passed us on its march to 
Mont Val^rien. 

When I got back to the Rue de Provence, at half-past 
five, I found the Chief and the rest of the party already at 
dinner. There were no guests present. As I entered, the 
Minister was just speaking of Favre : " I believe he came 
only because of yesterday's discussion, when I would not 
admit that Garibaldi was a hero. He was clearly uneasy 
about him, because I refused to include him in the Armistice. 
Like a true advocate he drew attention to the first article. 
I, however, told him, ' Yes, that was the rule, but next came 
the exceptions, and he was one of them.' If a Frenchman 
bore arms against us, I maintained, he was fighting for his 
country, as he had a right to do. .But as for this foreign 
adventurer, with his Cosmopolitan Republic and his band of 
revolutionaries from all quarter? of the globe, I could not 
recognise his rights. He then asked what we should do 
with him if we caught him. ' Oh,' said I, ' we will show 
him about for money, with a placard round his neck, labelled 
" Ingratitude." ' " 

He then asked, " Where is Scheidtmann ?" .Some one 
said what he knew about him. " I had thought of him as 
a legal assistant in the matter (referring to the contribution 
of two hundred milHon francs to be paid by Paris) — he is 
a lawyer?" Bucher repUed, No, he had not studied at all; 
he had originally been a merchant, or something of the kind. 
" Well," said the Chief, " Bleichroder must go to the front. 
He must go into Paris at once, to ferret among his col- 
leagues, and consult with the bankers how it is to be done. 
Fle is coming, is he not ?" " Yes," said Keudell, " in a 

u 2 

292 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

few days." The Chief, " Please telegraph to him that we 
want him immediately. Then comes Scheidtmann — he 
speaks French?" No one knew. "As a third man I 
think of Henckel. He is at home in Paris, and known 
among the financial people. 'We on the Bourse,' one of 
the leading financiers once said to me, ' are in the habit of 
spotting lucky speculators, and if we want to spot one here, 
it is Count Henckel.' " 

The conversation afterwards turned upon the story of the 
fortunes and development of the German question. The Chief 
observed, " I remember, thirty or more years ago, in Gottin- 
gen, I made a bet with an American as to whether Germany 
would be united in twenty years. We wagered five-and-twenty 
bottles of champagne, which the man who won was to 
stand, while the loser was to cross the sea for it. He was 
against and I for the Unity. I thought of it in 1853, and 
intended to go across.. But upon inquiry I found he was 
dead. .He had just the sort of name which promised no 
length of life — Coffin ! The most remarkable thing is that 
I must at that time, in 1833, already have had the ideas and 
hopes, which now by God's help have been realised, although 
then my relations with the party that wished for Unity 
had only been antagonistic.'' 

The Chief lastly expressed his belief in the influence of 
the Moon upon the growth of hair and of plants, and then 
proceeded to joke Abeken upon the excellence of his 
barber. " You look quite young again, Mr. Privy Coun- 
cillor," said he ; " would I were your wife ! You have had 
it cut just at the right time, when the moon was waxing. It 
is just so with trees. If they are wanted to grow again, they 
are felled during the first quarter ; if you wish to cut them 
clean away, you do it when the moon is on the wane, and 
then the root decays more quickly. There are people. 

XVIII.] Rules for the French Elections. 293 

scholars, who do not believe this; but the State itself 
acts on the belief, though it will not openly confess it. No 
forester is allowed to fell a birch-tree, which is to throw off 
suckers again, when the moon is waning." 

In the evening I read a number of documents, bearing 
upon the armistice and the revictualling, and among them 
several autograph letters of Favre, who writes a neat legible 
hand. In one of them it is stated that Paris only has meal 
up to the 4th of February, afterwards nothing but horse-flesh. 
In another letter Moltke is entreated not to put Garibaldi 
on the same footing with the French, and in any case to 
grant the complete laying down of their arms by him and his 
people. The Minister asks for this on political grounds. In- 
structions are sent to Elsass not to hinder the elections to 
the Assembly at Bordeaux, which is to decide the question of 
war or peace, and eventually the conditions of the latter. 
They are to be ignored. In the regions occupied by us, not 
the Prefects but the Mayors will guide the elections. The 
instructions issued by the Parisians on this subject are to 
this effect. "The Mayors of the chief places in the De- 
partment will put themselves in communication with those 
of the chief places in each Arrondissement, and these again 
with the mayors of the chief places in the Cantons and 
Communes. They will appoint a day on which the deputies 
to the National Assembly are to be nominated. The Mayor 
of each commune will furnish every enrolled elector with 
the list from which he has to choose. In default of a list 
the electors will be allowed to vote notwithstanding, after 
their identity has been estabUshed. The Mayor of the 
chief place in the department will determine the number 
and limits of the electoral circles. The election will be 
decided by casting up the votes according to the relative 
majority. In consequence of difficulties arising from the 

294 Bismarck in the Franco-German Wan [Chap. 

war, the election is to be valid whatever the number of 
voters." The Parisian members of the French Government 
further issued the following directions on January 29th : 

" Considering the importance, in present circumstances, of 
allowing the electors perfect liberty of choice, , so far as is 
consistent with a true expression of the will of the people, 
the Government of National Defence enacts : that articles 
81 to 90 of the law of March 15, 1849 — with the exception 
of the provisions made in paragraph 4 of article 82, and para- 
graph 5 of article 85 — are not to apply to this election to the 
National Assembly. Accordingly, prefects and sub-prefects 
are not eligible in the departments where they exercise their 

Thursday, February 2. — The weather is bright and mild, 
as if spring were close at hand. Betimes in the morning I 
was summoned to the Chief. I am to telegraph that 80,000 
Frenchmen of Bourbaki's army have been driven across the 
Swiss frontier at Pontarlier, while only 8000 have escaped to 
the south. Soon after, I am called up once more, to draw 
attention in the press here, as well as in Germany, to a 
circular from Laurier (inspired by Gambetta) which has just 
reached us by telegraph, and to state our views thereupon. 
I write the following article on the subject at once : 

"A circular was issued to the Prefects, signed by C. Laurier, 
from Bordeaux, on January 31, after the conclusion of the 
Convention of January 28 had become known there. It 
contained this passage : ' The policy maintained and carried 
out by the Ministers of the Interior and of War remains 
the same as before : War to the last. Resistance till every 
resource is exhausted. Lend, therefore, every aid in your 
power to maintain a good spirit among the population. 
The interval of the armistice must be devoted to strengthen- 
ing our .three armies with men, ammunition, and provisions. 

XVIII.] The Elections and the German Authorities. 295 

Our aim must be to turn the armistice to account at any 
price, and we are in a position to do so. In short, before 
the elections the wliole advantage rests with us. What 
France needs is a representative body which wishes for war, 
and is determined to carry it on at all costs.' 

" So runs the circular signed by Laurier. In the eyes of 
sensible people it passes judgment upon itself; we might 
therefore refrain from commenting upon it. It is, however, 
important to remark that the German authorities have been 
very mild and liberal both in their interpretation and admi- 
nistration of the Convention of January 28th. They have 
given effect to the proposals of the Parisian government 
in a far greater degree than was implied in that Convention. 
They have granted full liberty of election to the assembly 
which is to meet in Bordeaux, to decide the question of 
peace or war. In spite of this, the pubUc authorities in Bor- 
deaux proceed to preach war to the last, and are working 
openly for the election of such people as they hope will vote 
for carrying on the war till the resources of France are 
exhausted. Is this conduct not such as to suggest to the 
German authorities the question, whether their magnanimous 
reading of the obligations entered into by France is not 
a case of misplaced confidence, and whether they ought not, 
in the interests of France herself, to substitute a stricter 
interpretation of the Convention of January 28th? 

" As to the three armies mentioned by M. Laurier, we 
may remark that since Bourbaki's troops have partly been 
made prisoners, partly escaped into Swiss territory, France 
has only the remnants of two armies. In conclusion, com- 
pare with M. Laurier's manifesto the following extracts from 
the Daily Telegraph, upon M. Gambetta's views of the 
position of things and the course which France ought to 
take. The correspondent of the English paper says : 

296 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" ' The conversation turned upon the war in general, and 
on my asking whether it was at an end with the surrender 
of Paris, Gambetta answered, that the surrender of Paris had 
no bearing on the question of the continuance of the war, if 
the Prussians persisted in their present schemes. " I am 
speaking now," he continued, " not only in my own name 
or in that of the Government Delegation here. On the 
contrary, I am repeating, the final decision of my Col- 
leagues both in and out of Paris, that the war must be 
continued whatever the cost and whatever may be the 
consequences. If Paris falls to-morrow, it will have nobly 
fulfilled its duty to France, but I cannot believe that 
Paris will ever surrender. I believe that the inhabitants 
would themselves burn it to the ground, and turn it 
into a second Moscow, rather than allow it to fall into 
the hands of the enemy." " But just suppose," replied I, 
"that in spite of this the capitulation should take place." 

' "In that case," answered Gambetta, "the struggle must be 
continued in the provinces. Without counting the army of 
Paris, we have actually at the present time half a million of 
troops, and 250,000 men more behind, ready to join the 
army, or to leave their depots. We have never called out 
the Contingent of 187 1, and we have not yet pressed 
married men into the regiments. The former will yield us 
300,000 recruits, the latter will furnish two millions of strong 
men. Arms are coming in to us from all sides, and there 
is no lack of money. The nation, including all shades of 
political opinion, is on our side, and the only question will 
be, which is the stronger and more persevering race, ours 
or the German." " No," he continued, bringing his fist 
down heavily on his writing-table, " I look upon it as a 
mathematical impossibility for us, if we persevere and con- 
tinue the war, not to succeed in the end in driving the 

XVIII.] Bismarck's Letter to Favre. 297 

invader out of France. Every four-and-twenty hours is for 
us only one day, but for our enemies each hour's delay 
brings fresh difficulties. England has made a great mistake 
in not having stepped in before now, to tell Prussia that 
her passing a certain limit would be in the eyes of England 
a casus belli" ' " 

Soon after one, the "Frenchmen came again, but the Chief 
had ridden out with the War Minister, as was supposed, to 
one of the forts, or to some more commanding point of 
view, for they had taken field-glasses with them. Gerstacker 
and Duboc called on me, and with the latter, who is living 
as correspondent in the Saxon camp, I went for an hour into 
the castle park. On the way home I learnt that the Chief 
had been to Saint-Cloud, and the Frenchmen were waiting 
for him meanwhile in our park. 

At dinner Odo Russell, and a tall, strong young man in 
dark blue uniform, were our guests. The latter, I was told, 
was Count Bray, son of the Minister^ and formerly in the 
Bavarian Embassy at Berlin. The Chief said to Russell, 
" The English papers, and some German ones too, have 
found fault with my letter to Favre, and called it too 
harsh. He himself does not seem to be of that opinion. 
He said to me of his own accord, ' You have done right to 
remind me of my duty. I ought not to go away before 
the end.' " After praising this self-renunciation, the Minister 
repeated that our Parisians were unpractical people, and 
that we were continually obliged to advise and assist them. 
He added, that they now showed signs of wishing amend- 
ments in the Convention of January 28. Outside the city 
of Paris very little willingness to help in its re-provisioning 
was displayed. The directors of the Rouen and Dieppe 
Railway, for instance, whose assistance had been counted 
upon, said they were short of working stock, as their loco- 

298 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

motives had been taken to pieces^ and carried over to 
England. Gambetta's action was still doubtful, though he 
seemed to be thinking of continuing the war. It was neces- 
sary that France should soon have a regular Government. 
" If they do not soon establish one," he went on, " we will 
give them a king. Everything is ready for it. Amadeo, 
with a travelling-bag in his hand, entered Madrid as King 
of Spain. Our King is coming immediately with a train, 
with ministers, cooks, chamberlains, and an army." 

The conversation then turned upon the property of 
Napoleon, which was very .differently estimated, now as 
great, and again as inconsiderable. Russell seemed to 
doubt whether he -had much. The Empress, at least, he 
thought, could not have much, for she never had more than 
six thousand pounds deposited in the Bank of England. 

It was then said that Count Maltzahn had already gone 
into Paris, and when some one added that he had not 
yet appeared again, the Chief said, " I only hope nothing 
has happened to that stout person." He then told us that 
on his way to Saint-Cloud to-day he had met many people with 
beds and household gear, probably inhabitants of the vil- 
lages hereabouts, who had not been able to get out of 
Paris. " The women looked quite friendly," he said, " but, 
as soon as they caught sight of our uniform, the men 
assumed a hostile expression and a heroic attitude. It 
reminds me of the old Neapolitan army, which had a word 
of command, answering to our ' Arms to the charge ! right !' 
— "■ Faccia feroce!' With the French, everything lies in a 
magnificent attitude, a pompous speech, and an impressive 
theatrical mien. If it only sounds right and looks like 
something, the meaning is all one. They are like the 
Potsdam burgher and householder, who once told me 
that a speech of Radowitz had touched and affected him 

XVIIL] The Danger of Oratory. 299 

deeply. I asked him whether he could point out any 
passage which had specially gone to his heart, or seemed 
particularly fine. He could not name one. Thereupon I 
read the whole speech out to him, and asked him what was 
the affecting passage. It turned out that there was nothing 
of the sort there, nothing either striking or affecting. It 
was nothing but the manner and attitude of the orator 
Which looked as if he were saying the deepest, most im- 
portant, and most striking things — the thoughtful glance, the 
devout eyes, the voice full of tone arid weight. It was the 
same with Waldeck, though he was not so able a man or of 
such distinguished appearance. In this case it was rather 
the white beard, and his intellectual force. 

" The gift of oratory has ruined much in parliamentary life. 
Time is wasted because every one who feels ability in that 
line, must have his word, even if he has no new point to 
bring forward. Speaking is too much in the air, and too 
little to the point. Everything is already settled in com- 
mittees : a man speaks at length therefore only for the public, 
to whom he wishes to show off as much as possible, and still 
more for the newspapers, who are to praise him. ^ratory 
will one day come to be looked upon as a generally hafmful 
quahty,3nd a man will be punished who allows himself to 
be guilty of a long speech. We have one body," he con- 
tinued, "which admits no oratory, and has yet done more 
for the German cause than almost any other — the Council of 
the Confederation. I remember that at first some attempts 
were made in that direction. But I put a stop to them. 

" I said to them something like this : ' Gentlemen, we 
have nothing to do here with eloquence and speeches inr 
tended to produce conviction," because everyone brings his 
conviction with him in his pocket — I mean, his instructions. 
It is so much time lost. I propose that we confine ourselves 

300 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

here to the statement of facts.' And so it was ; no one 
again made a long speech. We get on so much the faster 
with our business ; and the Council of the Confederation 
has really done a great deal." 

In the evening I read despatches, as well as some drafts ; 
then drew up and sent off three telegrams, one upon Belfort 
and the three South-Eastern departments, one upon the 
hindrances in the way of revictualling Paris, and one upon 
the difficulties raised by Faidherbe and d' Argent. 

Friday, February 3. — Weather damp and cold. In the 
forenoon, while the Chief was busy, I went again with 
Wollmann to Saint-Cloud, the ruins of which still smoke con- 
tinually, and smell of burning, and then beyond to the first 
houses of Suresnes, at the foot of Mont Valdrien. Our 
sentries are still posted along the banks of the Seine, but 
everything has the most peaceable look, and one is struck 
only by the deep stillness which reigns on the further side 
of the stream, though a great town lies close to it. No 
people are to be seen on that side, and the only sign of life 
is on the water, where two boats, apparently fishing-smacks, 
are gliding along. 

At breakfast Bucher told us all kinds of characteristic 
stories from the life of Gladstone. About one, I have a call 
from Wachenhusen, who wishes to smuggle himself into 

About a quarter to four I was sent for by the Chief. 
Gambetta has followed Laurier's example, and himself made 
a declaration which is thoroughly warlike and despotic. A 
proclamation to the French, signed by him, was issued on 
January 31, and contained these words : — 

"The enemy has inflicted on France the most grievous 
injuries which our people have been fated to endure in this un- 
fortunate war. Impregnable Paris, sorely pressed by hunger, 

xvill.j Gambetta on the Armistice. 301 

has been unable to keep the German hordes any longer at a 
distance. On January 28th it fell." " It seems as if a gloomy 
fate had in store for us still greater calamity, and even 
bitterer pain. Without our being taken into counsel, an 
Armistice has been signed, the reprehensible wantonness of 
which we have only learned too late ; an armistice which 
hands over to the Prussians the Departments still occupied 
by our troops, and obliges us to remain quiet for three 
weeks, while, in the present unfortunate condition of the 
country, a National Assembly is being called together. We 
have demanded explanations as to the state of Paris, and 
remain silent till they are vouchsafed. We wish to wait for 
the expected arrival of some member of the Government 
from Paris, into whose hands we may resign our authority." 
" No one has yet come from Paris. We must therefore, at 
any price, take steps to frustrate the shameful plans of the 
enemies of France. Prussia counts on the armistice un- 
nerving and breaking up our armies. It lives in hope 
that an assembly, meeting after a long train of disasters, 
and under the terrible shock of the fall of Paris, will be 
disheartened and ready to agree to an ignominious peace. 
It lies with us to disappoint this calculation, and to use 
every endeavour, that the means intended for stifling the 
spirit of resistance may, in fact, add to it fresh life and 
strength. Let us employ the Armistice in drilling our young 
soldiers, and in bringing the organisation of Defence and 
of the War to a state of greater efficiency than ever. Let 
us do our utmost that, instead of the reactionary and faint- 
hearted body of representatives expected by our enemies, 
a truly national and republican assembly may meet, ready 
for peace if the honour and inviolabihty of the country 
is secured, but equally able and ready to vote for war, 
to prevent France becoming the victim of assassination. 

303 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Frenchmen, let us think of our fathers, who handed France 
down to us as a United and Indivisible State. Let us 
guard against treason to our history, let us see that our 
inheritance does not pass into the hands of barbarians ! " 
This fanatic document ends with the appeal " To arms ! Vive 
la France ! Long live the Republic One and Indivisible ! " 

Gambetta issued at the same time a document in which 
a number of persons were declared ineligible. In it he 
observed : — 

" Justice demands that all the accomplices of the Govern- 
ment which began with the Coup d'etat of December 2, 
and ended with the capitulation of Sedan, should be struck 
for the future with the political impotence of the dynasty, 
whose tools and abettors they were. This is the neces- 
sary consequence of the responsibility which they undertook 
in assisting the Emperor to carry out a certain policy. To 
this category belong all persons who, between the 2nd of 
December, 185 1, and the 4th of September, 1870, have held 
the rank of minister, senator, privy councillor, or prefect. 
Furthermore, all individuals who were in any way concerned 
as Government candidates in the elections to the legislative 
body during the same period, and the members of those 
families who have ruled in France since 1789, are debarred 
from election to the National Assembly." 

In reference to this last manifesto, I telegraphed by the 
Chiefs orders to London and Cologne, that the Government 
in Bordeaux has, by an election circular, declared whole 
classes of the population ineligible — ministers, senators, 
councillors, and all who were formerly ofiScial candidates. 
The fear expressed by Count Bismarck during the negotia- 
tions for the Convention of January 28, that free elections 
would not be allowed, has thus been justified. On this 
account the Chancellor proposed at the time to summon the 

XVIII.] French Journals on Gambettds Circiilar. 303 

Legislative Body, but Favre would not consent. He has now 
protested in a note against the exclusion of those men, and 
it is only an Assembly constituted by free election, in the 
sense of the Convention, that will be recognised by the 
Germans as representative of France. 

The Chief went with Gambetta's election circular to the 
King, while the Parisian prefect of poHce was waiting to 
speak to him in the drawing-room. He did not come to 
dinner, but stayed to dine at the Prefecture. Abeken there- 
fore took the head of our table, Scheidtmann and Count 
Henckel being present as guests. 

Summoned to the Chief at eight o'clock, I received 
instructions to send for insertion in the Moniteur a copy of 
a Reuter's telegram dated Bordeaux, February 2. It ran 
thus : — 

" The journals La Liberie, La Fatrie, Le Fran^ais, Le 
Constitutionnel, L' Universel, Le Courrier de la Gironde et 
Frovence, publish a protest against the Manifesto issued 
by the Delegation of Bordeaux on January 31st, restricting 
the freedom of election. They say, that before publishing 
this protest they considered it their duty to send three 
deputies to M. Jules Simon, to ask whether there was 
not existing a proclamation bearing upon the elections, 
which had been issued by the Parisian Government and 
published in the Journal Officiel. M. Jules Simon answered, 
that this manifesto did exist, that it bore date January 31st, 
and had been unanimously accepted by the members of the 
Government ; and that in it there were no restrictions on 
the liberty of election. The only point insisted upon had 
been that prefects were not eligible in the provinces where 
they exercised their functions.* The elections in Paris have 

* The main heads of this manifesto have been given above. 

304 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

been fixed for February 5th ; in the provinces for February 
8th. The Deputies are to meet on the 12th. The Journal 
Officiel, containing this proclamation, has been sent out, 
by order of the Parisian Government, into all the Depart- 
ments. Jules Simon obtained a passport on January 31, 
and started off on the same morning. On his arrival at 
Bordeaux he summoned a meeting of the members of the 
Delegation, in order to explain fully to them the state of 
matters. At four o'clock in the afternoon a long dis- 
cussion took place. Jules Simon declared to the repre- 
sentatives of the press that he was prepared to stand by 
the proclamation of the Parisian Government, and authorised 
them to publish this declaration. The undersigned repre- 
sentatives of the press have therefore only to await the 
execution of the Parisian proclamation." Then follow the 
signatures. Gambetta's dictatorship, then, has probably at 
last come to an end. His stubbornness has cut the ground 
from beneath his feet. 

I was once more summoned to the Chief I telegraphed 
the news of the successful battles of Manteufifel's southern 
army at Pontarlier. We have taken there 15,000 French 
prisoners, including two generals, nineteen guns and two 

Count Herbert has returned to-day to his father's house 
from Germany. He was w:ith him at nine o'clock. 

Saturday, February 4. — The weather is warmer than yes- 
terday. In the morning I read the news and some drafts. I 
see that the Chief has protested against Gambetta's Election 
Circular in a double way — in a telegram addressed to himself, 
and in a note to Favre. The former runs : — " In the name 
of the freedom of election guaranteed by the Armistice-Con- 
vention, I protest against the instructions issued in your name, 
depriving numerous classes of the French people of the 

XVIIL] Cofidition of Free Elections. 305 

right of election to the Assembly. The rights, which are 
given in the armistice-convention to freely-elected deputies, 
cannot be acquired through elections carried on under the 
influence of oppression and despotism." After briefly sum- 
marising the contents of Gambetta's election-decree, the 
despatch to Favre proceeds : — " I take the liberty of putting 
to your Excellency the question whether you consider this 
in accordance with the provision of the convention, that the 
Assembly is to be constituted by free election. Will your 
Excellency allow me to recall to your recollection the 
negotiations which preceded the convention. Even then 
I expressed my fear that it would be found difficult under 
existing conditions to secure full liberty of election, and to 
prevent any attempt that might be made against it. Having 
this fear, which has now been justified by M. Gambetta's 
circular, I raised the question whether it would not be 
better to summon the Legislative Body, which was a lawful 
authority, elected by universal suffrage. Your Excellency 
declined this, and gave me your express promise that no 
pressure should be put upon the electors, and the fullest 
freedom of election should be assured to them. I appeal to 
your Excellency's sense of fairness in asking you wliether 
you think the exclusion of whole categories of candidates, 
declared fundamentally in the decree now in question, is 
compatible with the liberty of election guaranteed in the 
convention of January 28th. I consider myself entitled to 
express a confident hope that that decree, the application of 
which would appear to contradict the provisions of the Con- 
vention, will be immediately withdrawn, and that the Govern- 
ment of National Defence will take such measures as will 
efFectually guarantee the carrying out of the second article 
of the convention, regarding the liberty of election. We 
could not allow to persons elected according to the stipu- 


3o6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

lations of the Bordeaux Circular, the rights guaranteed to 
the deputies of the National Assembly by the Armistice- 

As early as nine o'clock two officers of the National Guard 
of Paris, an old man and a young one, appeared, bringing 
a letter for the Chief — probably Favre's answer. 

After ten the Chief sent for me, to say, " Here is a com- 
plaint from Berhn that the English papers are far better 
informed than ours, and that we communicated to our papers 
so little of the negotiations for the armistice. How is this ? " 
"Well, your Excellency," rephed I, "it is because the 
English have more money, to go everywhere and pick up 
information. And then they are so well recommended to 
eminent personages, who tell them about everything — and, 
besides, the military are not always quite close about things 
which ought to be kept secret. I could only allow such of 
the negotiations for the Convention to be published as it was 
proper should appear." " Well, then," said he, " write, 
pray, on this subject, and say that circumstances, and not 
we, are to blame." 

I ventured then to congratulate him upon the announce- 
ment of honorary citizenship, which he is said to have re- 
ceived lately, and to remark that Leipzig was a good town, 
the best in Saxony, and one that I had always held dear. 
" Yes," replied he, " an honorary citizen — I am a Saxon, 
now, and a Hamburger, too, for I have one from there also. 
That could not have been hoped for in i865." 

I was going, when he said, " That reminds me — it is one 
of the marvels of this time — write, please, something in 
detail upon the singular fact that Gambetta, who has so long 
had the character of representing liberty, and of fighting 
against the influence of Government in the elections, now, 
when he is himself in power, authorises the most flagrant 

XVIIL] A Constitutional Barba7'ian. 307 

encroachments upon freedom of election, and is de- 
barring from the privilege of being elected all whom he 
believes not to hold his own views — that is, the whole 
of official France, with the exception of thirteen repub- 
licans. That I should have to restore to the French their 
liberty of election, in opposition to this Gambetta and 
his accomplice and confederate. Garibaldi, is another won- 
derful thing.'' I said, "I do no.t know whether it was 
intentional, but in your protest to Gambetta it had a very 
strange effect : the contrast between the sentence where ' in 
the name of the freedom of election ' you guarded yourself 
against ' the directions issued in your (Gambetta's) name for 
depriving numerous classes of the right of election.' Might 
that be pointed out?" "Yes," said he; "pray do so." — 
" You may also," he added, smiling, " remind people that 
Thiers, after his negotiations with me, called me an amiable 
barbarian. They now call me in Paris a shrewd barbarian 
(' un barbare asiutieux '), next time I shall probably be the 
constitutional barbarian." 

I here insert, by way of comparison, other remarks upon 
the Prince from French papers and books of 1870-1874. 
The record is given in a German paper, the name of 
which I cannot give, as the label stuck upon the cutting 
which contains it came off It runs somewhat as follows : — 

* * -K * * * 

The Chancellor remarked of himself in the Reichstag this 
spring (1874) that he was the best hated man in Europe, 
from the banks of the Garonne to the Neva. The following 
may help to show the feelings entertained towards Bismarck 
by his chief enemies the French, and to illustrate that 
soon celebrated utterance. The German Chancellor occu- 
pies the same place in the thoughts of the French, as 
Hannibal did in those of the Romans. If the great Car- 

X 2 

3o8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

thaginian was to the minds of the Quirites, the incarnation 
of all that went against the grain with them or could thwart 
their plans, the expression of every perfidy and intrigue, 
these are also the relations between Bismarck and the French 
to-day. His name has become a bugbear to France, just 
as the HaJinibal ante portas (Hannibal at the gates) was a 
terror to Rome. Wherever anything happens in the world 
which goes against the grain with the French, Bismarck is 
the cause of it. In this way this utterly hated man has 
qualities attributed to him which no mortal is conscious of 
possessing : omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence. With 
the outbursts of hatred, however, there is always mingled 
a good deal of involuntary admiration. Like Balaam, the 
French must now and then bless when they mean to curse. 
This phenomenon may be traced in the French press with 
tolerable accuracy. The French papers usually speak of 
the Chancellor, if they have no quarrel with him, without 
ceremony as M. de Bismarck. They do not, however, always 
ignore the elevation of rank which he has acquired ; at 
times, though not very frequently, they have to do with 
le Prince de Bismarck. The title of Prince reminds them 
at once of the services by which it was won, connected 
as they are with the repulse of French insolence, and the 
weakening of the French power of offence. OfScially 
speaking he is, according to his friends west of the Vosges, 
Chancellor, to which is usually added some epithet, such 
as Prince Chancellor, Illustrious Chancellor, Arch-Chan- 
cellor, or Grand Chancellor. In regard to his political 
bias, the French are not all of one opinion, but maintain 
in that respect very various views. At one time the papers 
call him " the defender of aristocratical ideas," at another 
"the champion of modern Liberalism and of human reason," 
or again, " the apostle of Liberalism." In the French papers. 

XVIII.] Bismarck as seen by the French. 309 

which hold liberal views, these designations, which pre- 
suppose Bismarck to have two souls, appear harmoniously 
side by side. The Legitimist and clerical prints express 
themselves more logically ; with them he is always " this 
revolutionary." The Chancellor's high statesmanlike quali- 
fications are fully recognised by the French. 

From a diplomatic point of view he is " the illustrious 
diplomatist,'' " I'homme de Biarritz^' which seems to 
signify a magnificent success, just as " rhomme de Sedan " 
implies a frightful defeat. He is " an able man, always on 
the spot, with his finger in everything. He sees in the most 
trifling opportunities the way to attain his end." Apropos of 
the policy by which the Chancellor triumphed over France, 
they say, " He profits by our perplexities with admirable 
skill ; and always turns them adroitly to account." As 
opposed to poor innocent France, who has troubled no 
man's water, who loves peace, who has no other ambition than 
to live and prosper quietly, he is " the implacable German 
Chancellor." A phrase is used to express Bismarck's home 
and foreign policy, borrowed from the party of progress, " the 
man of might above right." Like the German democratic 
papers, the French papers also speak of him as a politician 
of blood and iron. He is " the celebrated author of the 
policy of blood and iron." Again, he is "the Machiavellian 
Chancellor," while he is at the same time described (ironi- 
cally, no doubt), as " the high-minded and God-fearing man." 
As is known, this expression is properly used only of the 
country of Prussia, but from the French point of view the 
country has become incarnate in Bismarck ; the Chancellor 
is the collective embodiment of Prussian qualities, their type 
and quintessence : " le Grand honime Prussieii" "/^ Grand- 
Frussien." The last expression was invented by the 
" Union," and is clearly modelled upon the Grand Turk. 

310 Bismarck in the Frajico-German War. [Chap. 

To the French Ultramontanes Bismarck is neither more 
nor less than the Turk, the incarnation of the Evil Principle 
itself, the Antichrist, Beelzebub, as the clerical Revue de 
la Fresse may boast to have dubbed him. With extremely 
abortive envy and Jealousy the Constitutionnel calls him 
further "the pivot of society," the pole round which the 
whole of existing society revolves. If the French wish to 
sum up in a word the magnificent successes of Bismarck 
they call him in characteristic fashion not " the conqueror 
of Sedan" or the like, but " the conqueror of Sadowa." His 
victories over the French are ignored, they have no existence 
as such, they are regarded rather as the treasons of the Em- 
peror Napoleon and his generals. The poor Austrians must 
suffer accordingly for not being invincible like the French. 
To express his greatness the proud title is given him 
of "Z^ Richelieu de la Frusse," which in a Frenchman's 
mouth sums up all statesmanlike and diplomatic ability. 
Others again cannot put him so high ; but bring him 
down one place and call him only "Foligitac en politique" 
but certainly " Polignac successful, the bold and powerful 
minister.'' Finally Bismarck's Creation, tlie new German 
Empire, is called by the clerical press in France, " the 
Godless Empire of M. de Bismarck " — of course, why what 
else could be expected of Beelzebub ? Their doubts as to 
the permanence of this creation are expressed by the French 
in these words, " He is a terrible gambler." That there is 
nothing so very extraordinary in their eyes in the establish- 
ment of the Empire they signify by saying, " Bismarck is 

only a plagiarist." 


I return to what the journal has to tell of events in 
Versailles on February 4, 187 1. 

This morning the Chief had more time and interest than 

xvill.] A French Life of Bismarck. 311 

usual recently for the papers. I was sent for six times before 
noon. At one of them he gave me a lying French brochure: 
" War as made by the Prussians," and remarked thereupon, 
" I should like you, please, to write to Berlin. They must 
draw up something similar on our side, with reference to the 
cruelties, barbarities, and breaches of the Convention (of 
Geneva) committed by the French. But not too long, or 
no one will read it, and it must appear quickly." The next 
time the question was of several newspaper cuttings " for my 
collection." Then again, he showed me a small paper, pub- 
lished by a certain Armand le Chevalier, 6, Rue Richelieu, 
with a woodcut portrait of the Chancellor on the frontispiece, 
and said, " Look here, here is a recommendation with refer- 
ence to Blind's attempt to assassinate me, and my portrait is 
given too — like the photographs of the Francs-tireurs. You 
know that in the forests of the Ardennes, photographs of 
such of our skirmishers as were to be shot were found in 
the pockets of the Francs-tireurs. Luckily no one can say 
that my likeness is specially well hit off in this — nor for the 
matter of that my biography either. This passage " (he read 
it aloud and then handed me the paper) " should be sent to 
the papers with a moral to it, and then appear as a 

Finally he gave me some more French newspapers, saying, 
"Just look whether there is anything there for me or the 
King. I shall be off, or the gentlemen from Paris will catch 
me again." 

In M. Chevalier's paper it is in fact stated in rather plain 
terms by a certain '' Ferragus," that France would welcome 
with approval the Chiefs assassination, although he is, 
properly speaking, a benefactor to the French. The author, 
whose style savours of Victor Hugo's school, says : 

" Bismarck has probably done better service to France 

312 Bismarck ill the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

than to Germany. He has worked for a false unity in his 
own country, but very effectually for a regeneration of ours. 
He has freed us from the Empire. He has restored to us 
our energy, our hatred of the foreigner, our love for our 
country, our contempt for life, our readiness for self-sacrifice, 
in short, all the virtues which Buonaparte had killed in us. 

" Honour therefore to this grim foe who saves us, when 
seeking to destroy us. Meaning to kill us he summons us to 
immortality, at the same time adding impetus to our earthly 
life. The blood which he spills fructifies our country ; the 
twigs which he lops off allow the tree to absorb more sap. 
You will see how much greater we shall be when we escape 
from these fearful but wholesome toils. We have to expiate 
twenty years of forgetfulness of duty, of luxury, and of 
servility. The visitation is severe, but the result will be 
glorious. I call to witness the manly attitude of Paris, and 
the hunger after justice and honour with which our bosoms 
swell. To-day when one passes the door of the opera-house, 
one is smitten with shame. Those nudities, which were so 
brightly illumined by the sun of the Empire, shock the 
modesty of the Republic ; we turn away from this typical 
memorial of another age, another grade of civilisation. It 
is Bismarck who has imbued us with this Puritan pride. Let 
us not thank him for it, but pay back with manly hatred 
this involuntary benefit from a man who, mightier' to destroy 
than to construct, is more easily cursed than hailed with 
applause. Prussia has made him its great man, but on the 
8th of May, 1866, the whole country mourned the fate of a 
young fanatic, a student, who seeing in Bismarck an enemy 
of freedom, fired five' pistol-shots at him. 

"Bind [as the author further on calls Blind's stepson] 
belonged to that class of inspired people, represented by Karl 
Sand, the murderer of Kotzebue, Stapss, who tried to stab 

XVIII.] Should he be Assassinated f 313 

Napoleon at Schonbnmn, and Oscar Becker, the author of 
the attempt upon the King of Prussia. Bind was not 
deceived when he gave himself credit for a Roman soul, 
for he behaved like a Stoic after his capture, and himself 
opened the artery in his neck, to rob the executioner of 
his victim. 

" If we were to hear to-day that a more successful attempt 
had been made upon Bismarck, would France have the 
generosity not to applaud it ? So much is certain that this 
frightful question of political assassination will always remain 
one of relative morality, until it is eradicated from the minds 
of nations together with capital punishment and war. At 
this time, in October, 1870, one would hail as saviour a 
man, who, three months before, would have been branded as 
a common ' murderer,' " — a fine sign truly of the regenera- 
tion, which, according to the opening words of the article, is 
supposed to have taken place in France, and of the hunger 
after justice and honour, with which the writer sees his 
countrymen's bosoms swelling. 

The Chief rode out about one o'clock, but was " caught " 
after all by Favre, who came in in the meantime, and worked 
with him up in the little drawing-room. 

Prince Putbus and Count Lehndorff were present at 
dinner. The Chief told us first that he had called Favre's 
attention also to the remarkable fact that he, who was 
decried as the despotic and tyrannical Count von Bismarck, 
had been obliged to protest, in the name of freedom, against 
the proclamation of Gambetta, the advocate of freedom, 
who wished to deprive many hundreds of his countrymen of 
eligibility, and all of freedom of election. He added that 
Favre had acknowledged this with a " oui, dest Men drble." 
However, the restrictions upon free election, authorised by 
Gambetta, had been by this time withdrawn and repealed 

314 Bismarck in the Fj-anco-German War. [Chap. 

by the Parisian part of the French Government " He told 
me so," said he, " this morning by letter (that which was 
brought by the officers of the National Guard), and has now 
confirmed it by word of mouth." 

It was then mentioned that several German papers had 
been discontented with the Capitulation, having expected 
our troops to march at once into Paris. Thereupon the 
Chief remarked : " That arises from total ignorance of the 
situation here and in Paris. I might have arranged it 
with Favre, but the population — They had strong barri- 
cades, and 300,000 men, of whom certainly 100,000 would 
have fought. Enough blood — German blood — has been 
shed in this war. If we had tried to use force, far more 
would have been spilt in the irritation of the inhabitants. 
Merely to inflict another humiliation upon them, — it would 
have been bought too dear." After a little meditation 
he went on, "And who told them we should not still 
march in and occupy a part of Paris ? Or at least march 
through, when they have cooled down and listened to 
reason. The Armistice will probably have to be prolonged, 
and in return for this concession we can demand to occupy 
Paris on the right bank. I think we shall be there in 
some three weeks." "The 24th" — he thought a little — 
"yes, it was a 24th when the Constitution of the North 
German Confederation was proclaimed. It was on the 
24th of February, 1859, that we lived to see a, shameful 
event in Frankfort. I told them at the time that they would 
be paid out for it. You will soon see. Exoriare aliquis — 
I am only sorry that the Wiirtemberger (the ambassador of 
the Diet), old Reinhart, has not lived to see it. But 
Prokesch has, I am glad to say, who was the worst. He 
is now quite at one with us, praises the energetic and 
spirited poHcy of Prussia, and always " (here the Minister 

XVIII.] Cest la Guerre. 3 1 5 

laughed ironically) "or long ago, at least, recommended 
Union with us." 

The Chief then mentioned that he had been to-day at 
Mont Val&ien. " I was never there before,'' said he, " and 
when one sees the strong earthworks and numerous pro- 
visions for defence — we should have left many men lying 
there if we had attempted to storm it ; I cannot think of it." 

He next informed us that Favre had to-day come over to 
ask us to let out of Paris the crowds of country people who 
took refuge in the town in September. They were mostly 
people from the suburbs, and must number about 300,000. 
" I refused him," he went on ; " giving him for answer, ' Our 
soldiers are occupying their houses, and if the possessors 
come out and see how their property has been carried off 
and ravaged, they will be furious (and I cannot blame them), 
and tax our people with it ; and that might lead to awkward 
scuffles, and perhaps something worse.' " He then recurred 
to his excursion to Saint-Cloud and Suresnes, and said 
incidentally : " When I was looking at the place in the 
castle where the fire was, and thinking of the room where 
I had dined with the Emperor, a well-dressed gentleman, 
who had probably come from Paris, was there, being taken 
about by a man in a blouse. I could easily make out what 
tliey were saying, for they spoke loudly, and I have good 
ears. ' C est l' eeuvre de Bismarck,' said the man in the blouse. 
But the other only answered : ' Cest la guerre.' If they had 
known that I heard them ! " 

Count Bismarck-Bohlen then told us that the Landwehr 
somewhere hereabouts had punished a Frenchman who 
resisted an officer and struck at him with a penknife, by 
giving him seventy-five blows with the flat of a sword. 
" Seventy-five !" said the Chief; " H'm, that is too much." 
Some one told of a similar case that had happened near 

3i6 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

Meaux, where, when Count Herbert lately passed through, 
the soldiers had laid hold of a miller, who had abused 
Count Bismarck and expressed a wish to have him between 
two mill-stones, and had flogged him with such terrible 
severity, that he was not able to move for several hours 

The Election Programmes, which the candidates for 
the National Assembly had posted at the street corners to 
recommend themselves to their dear fellow-citizens, were 
then spoken of Some passages were quoted from them, and 
it was remarked generally, that they still rode very much the 
high horse in Bordeaux, and promised to do mighty things. 
"Yes," said the Chief, "that I can imagine. Favre even 
tried once or twice to assume the high-heeled buskin. But 
it did not last long. I always brought him down at once 
with a light jest." 

Some one spoke of Klaczko's speech iiji the Senate on 
January 30, against a combination between Austria and 
Prussia, and of Giskra's disclosure which appears in the 
morning edition of the National Zeitung for February 2. 
The latter had said that Bismarck sent him from Briinn to 
Vienna with peace proposals to the following effect : a 
statics quo ante bellum except in Venetia ; the Prussian Hege- 
mony to be bounded by the Maine ; no war expenses, but 
the mediation of France to be declined at the conclusion of 
peace. Giskra sent Baron Herring to Vienna with the pro- 
posals, but he had been coldly received by Moritz Ester- 
hazy, and sent away with an evasive answer after waiting 
sixteen hours. He then went to Nicolsburg, where he met 
Benedetti, and received the answer, " You come too late." 
The French mediation, therefore, as Giskra maintained, cost 
Austria a war indemnity of thirty milliotis. 

It was remarked that Prussia might at that time, have 

XVIII.] Hurrah for Bismarck ! 317 

easily taken more from Austria, even in land, as for in- 
stance Austrian Silesia, and perhaps Bohemia. The Chief 
answered, " That is possible. But money — what more 
could they give ! Bohemia might have been of some use, 
and there were people who thought of it. But it would 
have involved us in difficulties, and Austrian Silesia would 
have been of little value to us.. It is just there that the 
sympathy for the Imperial house, and the attachment to 
Austria are strongest. The question in such cases is not 
what one can get, but what one wants.'' 

A propos of this, he continued, that once in Nicolsburg he 

had gone out in plain dress, and had met two gendarmes, 

who had arrested a man. " I asked them what he had done, 

but of course as a civilian I got no answer,'' said he. " I then 

enquired of the man himself, and he told me it was because 

he had spoken disrespectfully of Count Bismarck. They 

were nearly carrying me off, too, because I said that many 

people had done that. That reminds me that I was once 

obliged to give a cheer for myself It was in 1866, after the 

entry of the troops, in the evening. I happened to be 

unwell, and my wife would not let me go out. I slipped 

out, however, and when I wanted to cross the street back 

again by Prince Karl's palace, there was a great crowd 

of people collected, with the intention of giving me an 

Ovation. I was in plain clothes, and in my broad hat, which 

for some reason I had pressed down over my brow, must 

have looked suspicious, for some of them looked askance at 

me. I thought it best, therefore, to join in with their 


From eight o'clock I read drafts and letters, including 
Favre's answer to the Chiefs inquiry about Gambetta's 
election manceuvre. It runs thus : — 

" You are right to appeal to my sense of justice, in which 

3i8 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

you will never find me wanting. It is quite true that your 
Excellency urged me strongly to adopt as the only possible 
expedient — the summoning of the former Legislative Body. 
I declined this on several grounds, which I need not recall, 
but which you have certainly not forgotten. In answer to 
the remonstrances of your Excellency, I said that I believed 
myself sufficiently sure of my country to be able to assert 
that its only wish is for free election, and that the principle 
of the Sovereignty of the People is its only resource. That 
will be enough to show you that I cannot agree to the re- 
striction which has been laid on the elector's right of voting. 

" I have not fought against the system of official candi- 
datures, to re-introduce it for the benefit of the present 
Government. Your Excellency may therefore rest assured 
that if the decree, of which you speak, has been issued 
by the delegation at Bordeaux, it will be recalled by the 
Government of National Defence. I only ask to be 
allowed to procure for myself an official assurance of the 
existence of this decree, which I can do by a telegram to 
be despatched to-day. Accordingly there is no difference of 
opinion between us, and we must work each with the other 
for the execution of the convention we have signed." 

At nine o'clock I am called to the Chief, who wishes an 
article written to the effect that the entry of our troops 
is impracticable just now, but possible later on. It was a 
criticism of the armistice in the National Zeitung, which 
suggested this. It began : — " As a war is at any time fertile 
in inscrutable surprises, we find that great event, the fall 
of Paris, accompanied in its last phases by unexpected cir- 
cumstances. Most people, not in Germany alone, had assumed 
that our armies would one day make a brilliant entry through 
the open gates of the enemy's capital, and these brave armies 
themselves had counted upon this well-earned satisfaction 

XVIII.] An Entry into Paris. 319 

of war. Instead of this, they are content with the occupa- 
tion of the outworks, from which they look down upon the 
vanquished city, in which all the soldiers of the line and 
the Garde Mobile, except 12,000 men, lay down their arms 
and remain prisoners." " This Convention of Versailles not 
only appears on the face of it wanting in brilliancy, but it 
gives the impression of our acquisition being less complete 
than if we had at once marched into the city and seized 
upon all their materials of war.'' Further on it is asserted, 

" In November Favre thought of war ; in January, of 
peace." I am to say, on the other hand, that the " brilliant 
entry" might have been an entry over barricades. To wish 
for it is completely to mistake the position of things, and to 
show total ignorance of what is possible, or likely, under 
existing circumstances. The French Government might 
probably have agreed to an occupation of Paris by our 
troops, had we insisted upon it ; but a very large mass of 
the population would, in their present state of excitement, 
have taken up arms to resist it, and the entry would have 
cost us further bloodshed, when surely enough blood has 
been shed in this war already. Let us wait awhile, till cir- 
cumstances have changed, till people in Paris have cooled 
down. The brilliant entry, the occupation of some part of 
Paris, is by no means excluded by the convention of 
January 28 j it is even suggested in it. Article 4 only says : 
" During the armistice the German army will not enter 
Paris." The armistice will, in all probability, have to be 
extended, and then, as a compensation for our consent to 
this, we can impose the condition that we march into Paris, 
and so, in about three weeks' time, this may be done 
without a struggle and with no loss to us. The National 
Guard will also be disbanded and reorganised, but gradually, 
by the French Government. We can do nothing towards 

320 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

that ; we have not to help in the government. Favre 
dechned to negotiate about peace, with the remark that 
the representatives of the people were alone competent to 
the task. 

Later, I am once more called to the Chief. An article in 
the Volks-Zeitung, from Cologne, points out that the Ultra- 
montanes have offered money support to the leaders of the 
Universal German Workmen's Union, if they will work for the 
election of clerical candidates. We shall remark upon this, 
and at the same time speak in the press of a Savigny-Bebel 
party, or of the Liebknecht-Savigny fraction. 

Sunday, February 5. — A milder day ; the spring seems 
already drawing near. In the morning I worked diligently. 
The Chief's guests at dinner are Favre, d'H^risson, and the 
Director of the Western Railway, a man apparently about 
thirty-six years old, with a broad, jolly-looking, laughing 
countenance. Favre, who sits at the upper end of the 
table, looks anxious, harassed, and depressed, hangs his 
head on one side or by way of a change upon his breast, 
drops his under-lip. When he is not eating he folds his 
hands upon the table-cloth, in token of his submission to the 
will of fate, or crosses his arms like the first Napoleon, to 
show that on a closer consideration of matters he still feels 
like himself. During dinner the Chief speaks only French, 
and mostly in a subdued voice. I was too far off to be 
able to follow him distinctly. 

In the evening I am several times sent for by the Chief, 
and various matters are prepared for the press. The four 
members of the Bordeaux Delegation have, we learn by 
telegraph, issued a proclamation confirming Gambetta's 
decree about the elections. It is stated therein that Jules 
Simon, member of the Parisian Government^ has brought 
news to Bordeaux of an election decree^ which does not 

XVIII.] Bordeaux and Paris. 321 

tally with that issued by the government in Bordeaux. The 
Government in Paris had been shut up for four months, 
and cut off from all connection with public opinion ; nay 
more, they are at the present time in the position of pri- 
soners of war. There is nothing against the supposition 
that, had they been better informed, they would have acted 
in accord with the government in Bordeaux ; and as little 
to prove that, when they gave Jules Simon orders to see 
after the elections, they would have expressed themselves 
in unqualified and offensive terms against the ineligibility of 
certain persons. The Bordeaux government therefore con- 
siders itself bound to abide by its election decree ; and, in 
spite of the interference of Count Bismarck in the internal 
affairs of the country, maintains its position in the name of 
the honour and the interests of France. 

An open quarrel has thus been introduced in the enemy's 
camp, and Gambetta's retirement may be looked for at 
any moment. The Parisian Government, in a proclama- 
tion to the French on the 4th, which appears in the 
Journal Officiel, and will be printed in the Moniieur, has 
branded Gambetta as " unjust and foolhardy " {si injusteet si 
iemeraire), and then declared : " We have summoned France 
to the free election of an Assembly, which shall make 
known her wishes at this extreme crisis. We recognise no 
man's right to force a decision upon the country, whether 
it be for peace or for war. A nation which is assailed by 
a powerful foe, fights to the uttermost, but retains the 
right of judging at what moment resistance ceases to be 
possible. This, then, is what the country will decide when 
questioned as to its destiny. In order that its will may be 
imposed on all as recognised law, we need the sovereign 
expression of the free votes of all. We do not admit 


322 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

that arbitrary restrictions can be put upon the voting. We 
have overcome the Empire and its practices, and we do not 
intend to begin them over again by introducing the expe- 
dient of an official exclusion of candidates. Nothing is more 
true than that great mistakes have been made, entailing 
severe responsibilities, but all this is hidden by the mis- 
fortunes of the country. Should we condescend to the role 
of partisans, by pointing the finger at our former opponents, 
we should bring upon ourselves the pain and the disgrace of 
punishing men who are fighting and shedding their blood 
in our cause. To remember past dissensions at the moment 
when masses of the enemy are in occupation of our blood- 
drenched soil, is so far, to injure the great work of delivering 
our country. We place our principles above these expe- 
dients. We do not wish the first proclamation summoning 
the Republican Assembly in the year 1871, to be an act of 
disrespect to the electors. To them belongs the ultimate 
decision; let them give it without weakness, and our country 
may be saved. The Government of National Defence rejects, 
therefore, the illegally-issued decree of the Bordeaux Dele- 
gation, and declares it, as far as is necessary, null and 
void ; and it calls upon all Frenchmen without distinction to 
give their votes for such representatives as seem to them 
best fitted to defend France." 

At the same time to-day's Journal Officiel publishes the 
following proclamation : — " The Government of National 
Defence, in regard to a decree dated January 31st, issued by 
the Delegation in Bordeaux, in which various classes, of 
citizens, who are eligible according to the Government 
decree of January 29, 1871, are declared ineligible, gives 
notice as follows : ' The before-mentioned decree issued by 
the- Bordeaux Delegation is annulled. The decrees of 
January 29, 187 1, remain in full force throughout.'" 

XVIII.] Scientific principles on Tree-felling. 323 

The Kolnische Zeitung has become, with some reservations 
certainly, an organ of complaint against the asserted de- 
struction of the French forests by our officials. It might, 
one would think, do better than trouble itself as to whether 
we are taking toll from the state forests of France on a 
right system. We act upon scientific principles, if not ac- 
cording to French ideas about tree-felling. Moreover, the 
most reckless exhaustion of this source of help to the enemy 
would be justifiable, on the ground that it might induce him 
to make peace with us sooner. 

The conduct of the Duke of Meiningen deserves warm 
recognition. Instead of sitting still in Versailles, consulting 
his comfort, and enjoying the sight of an action from a safe 
distance, he has followed his regiment in the army corps 
commanded by Prince Albert ; has taken his share in all its 
hardships, privations, and dangers, and many times over has 
helped his subjects, who are fighting for their fatherland in 
the ranks of the German army. 

Monday, February 6. — Mild weather. In the morning the 
Chief wishes an article written against Gambetta. I drew 
up the following : — 

" The Convention of January 28, concluded between 
Count von Bismarck and M. Jules Favre, raised to new life 
the hopes of all true friends of peace. Since the events of Sep- 
tember 4, enough satisfaction had been given to the military 
honour of Germany, so that there was room for the wish to 
enter into negotiations with a Government really represent- 
ing the French nation, for a peace which should guarantee 
the fruits of victory, and place our future upon a safe footing. 
When the Governments represented in Versailles and 
Paris were able to come to terms about a convention, 
in accordance with the urgent pressure of circumstances, 

Y 2 

324 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

and which would restore France to herself, they were justified 
in the expectation that this first step in a new era of mutual 
relations between the two countries would be generally- 
approved. The decree of M. Gambetta, which declared the 
former high officials and dignitaries, senators and official 
candidates, ineligible, was probably necessary to show France 
the whole depth of the abyss which lay open before her, 
when the Dictatorship, lavish of the most precious blood 
of France, refused to call regularly together the repre- 
sentatives of the nation. 

"Article 2 of the Convention of January 28 is thus 
worded : ' The Armistice thus agreed upon has for its 
object, to allow the Government of National Defence to 
call together a freely-elected Assembly, which shall decide 
whether the war is to be continued, or whether, and 
under what conditions, peace is to be concluded. The 
Assembly will meet in the town of Bordeaux. The com- 
manders of the German army will afford every facility for 
the election and the assembling of the Deputies, of whom 
it will consist.' 

" In this sentence it is clearly and unmistakeably implied 
that liberty of election is one of the conditions of the Con- 
vention itself, and it would be wholly out of the question for 
any one to seek to avail himself of its other advantages, 
and to limit the area of the conditions, which in their 
entirety alone contain the elements of reconciliation. When 
Germany lent its aid to the elections, it had in view only 
the laws actually existing in France, not the whim and 
pleasure of this or that popular tribunal. On this principle 
it would be quite as easy to summon a Rump Parliament in 
Bordeaux, and create an instrument with which to strike 
the other half of France. At the outset we are convinced 
of this : that all true and honourable patriots in France 

XVIII.] Hunger in Paris. 325 

will protest against the act of the Delegation in Bordeaux, 
which every man in his senses would call sheer despotism. 
If this act had as its object to rally all those anarchical 
parties, which endure a Dictatorship, when it promotes their 
pet ideas, complications of the worst kind would infallibly 
have resulted from it. 

" Germany has no intention of in any way interfering 
in the internal affairs of France. But by the Convention of 
January 28th she acquired the right to see a public power 
appointed, with the necessary qualifications for carrying on. 
peace negotiations in the name of France. If Germany's 
right to treat for peace with the assembled nation is ques- 
tioned ; if the representation of one party is to be put in 
place of the representation of the nation, the Armistice- 
Convention itself will become null and void. We freely 
admit that the Government of National Defence has lost no 
time in acknowledging the justice of the complaints made 
by Count Bismarck in his despatch of February 3rd. In 
noble and honourable language this government has given 
its account to the French people of the difficulties of the 
situation, and the exertions it has made to avoid the last 
consequences of an unfortunate campaign. It has at the 
same time declared the decree of the Delegation in Bordeaux 
null and void. Let us then hope that M. Gambetta's attempt 
will meet with no response in the country, but that the elec- 
tions will take place in complete accordance with the letter 
and spirit of the Convention of January 28th." 

I wrote another article to the following effect : Hunger 
in Paris cannot yet be very extreme, or at least cannot be 
so dangerous as one might suppose from Favre's expres- 
sions. Though our stores have been at the disposal of the 
Parisians for the last eight days, no use has yet been made 
of them. General von Stosch reports that not a pound of 

326 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

meal or of meat has yet been carried away by them. They 
left moreover considerable stores of biscuits and salt meat 
behind them in the forts which they evacuated, and our 
people, who have been in Paris, have seen a great quantity 
of meal — even considering the number of the inhabitants — 
in one of the magazines there. "The reason, it must be 
remembered," remarked the Chief, " for the re-provisioning 
going on so slowly is, that the necessary orders have a long 
way to go from the general to the sentry." 

About eleven o'clock I am once more summoned to him. 
I am to defend Favre against certain attacks of a severe 
character, which have been published in some French papers. 
" The Paris journals reproach Favre for having dined with 
me," said the Chief " I had great trouble in bringing him 
to it. But it is quite absurd to expect that after working 
eight or ten hours with me he was either to starve, like a 
staunch Republican, or go to a hotel, where people would 
run after him as a notable personage, and the street boys 
would stare at him." 

From two to four o'clock the Frenchmen are here again, 
six or seven strong, including Favre, and, if I heard aright. 
General Leflo. The Chief's elder son and Count Donhoff 
were our guests at dinner. 

In the evening I drew up a paragraph upon the Times 
telegram from Berlin, to the effect that at the conclusion of 
peace we shall demand from the French twenty ironclads, 
the colony of Pondicherry, and ten Milliards of francs as 
war indemnity. I described, it as a downright invention, 
which one could hardly imagine would have been believed 
or would have given anxiety in England; and I indicated 
the source from which it was probably derived — the brain 
of some clumsy person in the diplomatic world, who wishes 
us ill and is spinning intrigues against us. 

XVIII.] GambettoHs Resignation. 327 

Tuesday, February 7. — The weather is mild ; in the morn- 
ing there was a fog, which did not hft till noon. The 
government of Prince Charles seems really likely to come 
to an end soon in Bucharest. In Darmstadt, owing to Dal- 
wigk's staying in office, the old party opposed to the Empire 
remains firm, and the well-known Cabal goes on weaving its 
intrigues. From Bordeaux the expected news is telegraphed, 
that Gambetta has informed the prefects by circular, that in 
consequence of the annulment of his election decree by his 
Parisian colleagues, he has sent them his resignation — a 
good sign. He must know that he has no strong party at 
his back, or he would not have gone so easily. In Paris the 
mobilised National Guard, the regiments of Paris, have been 
disbanded by the Government. 

General von Alvensleben, Count Herbert, and Bleichroder, 
the banker, dine with us. There is nothing remarkable in 
the conversation, the Chief speaking mostly in a low voice 
to Alvensleben. I feel exhausted, probably on account of 
my sitting up every night over my journal. I must stop 
it, or cut it shorter. There is to-day a fine additional 
trait to be noted in Gambetta's activity. The Soir states, 
that some days after the last sortie of the Parisians the 
following despatches were publicly posted up by the Dic- 
tator's orders in all the country communes not occupied 
by us : 

" Three days' battle ! On the 17th, i8th, and 19th, 
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On the last day, Friday, 
a magnificent sortie ; 200,000 men, the troops commanded 
by Trochu, broke through Saint-Cloud and over the heights 
of Garches. The Prussians were driven out of the park of 
Saint-Cloud, where terrible slaughter took place. The French 
forced their way up to the toll-gate of Versailles. Result : 
20,000 Prussians hors de combat, all their works destroyed, 

328 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

their guns taken, spiked, or thrown into the Seine. The 
National Guard fought in the van." If Gambetta talks like 
this of Paris, where his statements can easily be checked, 
what fictions may he not have imposed upon the pro- 
vincials ! 

Wednesday, February 8. — The air mild, as yesterday, the 
sky bright and sunny. I am still more worn out, and I am 
so giddy that I am like to fall. It may only be the ordinary 
spring languor ; I will keep it under as well as I can. The 
Chief is up in unusually good time, and goes to the King as 
early as a quarter past nine. Shortly before one comes 
Favre with a whole swarm of Frenchmen, as many as ten or 
twelve. He has an interview with the Minister, who had 
previously breakfasted with us. There were also present 
Donhoff and Hatzfeld's brother-in-law, a Mr. Moulton, a 
somewhat confident, but amusing young gentleman. 

In the evening the Chief dines with his son at the Crown 
Prince's, but first he was with us for a while. He again 
observes that Favre had not taken his " malicious letter " 
amiss, but thanked him for it, and adds that he (the Chief) 
had repeated to him by word of mouth that it was his duty 
to help to eat up the broth he had had a hand in brewing. 
He then mentioned that to-day the bringing in of the con- 
tribution from Paris had been spoken of, that they wanted 
to pay part of it in bank-notes, by which we should have 
been losers. " How much what they offer comes to I know 
not," said he. " In any case they would gain by it. But 
they must pay all that has been agreed upon ; not a franc 
will I abate." As he rose to go, he gave Abeken a telegram 
on pink paper, and said, " This is mere bosh. I can get 
on without Orleans, and if need be without Louis too.'' 

Thursday, February 9. — To-day, for once in a way, the 
Parisians did not come. In the morning I read the text of 

XVIII.] Pondicherry and German Colonies. 329 

the address, with which Gambetta, at 6 p.m., took his leave 
of the French people. It runs — 

" My conscience obliges me to resign my office as member 
of a government whose views or hopes I am no longer 
able to share. I have the honour to inform you that I have 
to-day sent in my resignation. I thank you for the patriotic 
and indulgent support I have always received from you 
when it was a question of carrying to a satisfactory conclusion 
the task I had undertaken, and I beg to be allowed to tell 
you that my deeply-formed conviction is, that considering 
the short notice and the grave interests which are at stake, 
you will do a great service to the Republic, if you take in 
■hand the elections on the 8th of February, and reserve to 
yourselves the right of coming after this period to such con- 
clusions as become you. I pray you to accept the expression 
of my fraternal sentiments." 

The Chief rode out to-day before two o'clock with Count 
Herbert, and a young lieutenant of the body-guard, the son 
of his cousin Bismarck-Bohlen (who is Governor-General in 
Elsass). He did not come back till after five. Qf the conver- 
sation at dinner, where both these gentlemen were present, 
the following is noteworthy. The Chancellor, speaking 
again of the Paris contribution, said, " Stosch told me he 
could use fifty millions in bank-notes to make payments 
inside France for provisions and the like. But the other 
hundred and fifty must be funded in due course." Speak- 
ing afterwards of the fable of our thinking of taking posses- 
sion of Pondicherry, after giving other explanations of this 
clumsy invention, he said, " I want no colonies. They 
are good for nothing but supply stations. For us in 
Germany, this colonial business would be just like the 

330 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

silken sables in the noble families of Poland, who have 
no shirts to their backs." He added further remarks in the 
same sense. 

In the evening the Chief sent me for consideration a very- 
confused and wrong-headed letter from Jacoby, teeming with 
slanders and misrepresentations, in La France. I afterwards 
prepared three articles, including the following for our 

" The line of demarcation defined in the Convention of 
January 28 divides the town of Saint-Denis in such a way 
that the greater part of it falls into the neutral zone. Now 
as the inhabitants of this part being without certificate have 
no claim on provisions in the German zone, and can no 
longer enter Paris, the consequence is that considerable ' 
scarcity has arisen, during which this hard-pressed population 
has unceasingly besieged the stations of the German oflScers 
charged with the scrutiny of certificates. Being informed of 
this state of things. Count Bismarck wrote to Jules Favre a 
letter which we here publish in full. At the same time the 
Chancellor applied to the German military authorities, and 
induced them to let the inhabitants of Saint-Denis have food 
provisionally and as a present. His Majesty the Emperor 
issued orders accordingly, and 15,000 portions have been 
distributed from the magazines of the German army. 

Count Bismarck's letter runs ' The commune of Saint-Denis 
has been so cut in two by the line of demarcation, that the 
greater part of it falls within the neutral zone. Up to the 
time of the Convention provisions were procured from the 
city of Paris and distributed through the mayoralty of Saint- 
Denis. The inhabitants who are in the neutral zone now 
see themselves cut off from Paris, which no longer gives 
them anything, and they are forbidden to look for food out- 
side the line of demarcation. This unfortunate population, 

XVIII.] Between Two Stools. 331 

therefore, which has already suffered severely by the war, has 
now fallen into a condition which calls for aid in the interests 
of humanity. I have the honour to direct your Excellency's 
attention to this point, and to ask you to take the necessary 
measures to secure means of sustenance to that portion of 
the inhabitants of Saint-Denis which is in the neutral zone. 
Pending these measures I have requested the German mili- 
tary authorities to assist in providing for this population by 
handing over to them as a present some food from our own 
stores.' " 

332 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 



Friday, February lo. — Fresh complaints about the intrigues 
of Dahvigk, and especially about measures which threaten 
the national constituencies of Hesse with the loss of their 
representatives and the victory of the combined Ultra- 
montanes and Democrats. It will be necessary at once to 
set on foot an active campaign in the press against these 
and other mischievous proceedings of our good friend Beust. 
The Chief wishes printed in the Moniteur the long list 
of French officers, who have broken parole and escaped 
from Germany. I send it on. There are altogether (not 
counting the three well-known generals) 142 names, in- 
cluding Colonel Thibaudin, of the 67th regiment of the 
line, two lieutenant-colonels^ three majors, and thirty cap- 
tains. The Mot d' Ordre gives the following strange story : 
"M. Thiers is carrying on his intrigues in the provinces. 
He is attempting to represent to Herr von Bismarck the 
possibility of a combination worthy of his advanced age, 
by which the crown of France is to be offered to the King 
of the Belgians, who, in order to obtain this extension of 
territory, would gladly sign with both hands the cession of 
Elsass and Lothringen, and in the end even that of Cham- 
pagne itself This wonderful idea is moreover not new. 
M. Thiers proposed it four or five months ago in Vienna 
and Petersburg, when the Government of National Defence, 
in spite of the energetic protests of Rochefort and Gambetta, 

XIX.] The Jews in the French Government. 333 

despatched him to plead in the name of the Repubhc for the 
intervention of the Emperors of Austria and Russia. So 
that at the very time when France arose to repulse the 
invader, Thiers, with 'bold front, was ready to betray 
the Republic, and cover his own white hairs with dis- 
honour.'" It can do no harm and may possibly do good for 
the Mordteiir to bring this information to-morrow^ without 
comment, before the notice of the public. The paper is 
not writing history, but it will help in the making of it. 

At dinner the Duke of Ratibor and a Herr von Kotze, 
the husband of the Chiefs sister's daughter, were present as 
guests, two men to outward appearance strikingly different 
from one another. The Minister remarked, inter alia, when 
Strousberg had been spoken of, that all or many of the 
members of the Provisional Government were Jews : Simon, 
Crdmieux, Magnin, as well as Picard, which he would not 
have believed, " very probably Gambetta, too, to judge from 
his face.'' " I suspect even Favre of it," he added. 

Saturday, February 11. — Fine bright weather. In the 
morning I read newspapers, and especially certain pro- 
ceedings of the English Parliament down to the end of last 
month. It would seem as if our good friends across the 
Channel were seriously leaning to the French side, and 
were not indisposed to interfere once more, so that an 
Anglo-French alliance might possibly come to pass. Let those 
who have this in their eye take care that they do not fall 
between two stools. There is another result more probable. 

From what one hears and reads in the papers, the feeling 
here towards England is almost as unfavourable as towards 
us, in some circles even more so, and it might quite easily 
happen in case of our seeing ourselves threatened by the 
attitude of England, that all at once the very contrary of an 
Anglo-French alliance against Germany might astonish our 

334 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

cousins in London. We might see ourselves obliged to take 
into serious consideration the bringing back of Napoleon, 
which hitherto we have been far from entertaining. 

About mid-day a number of shots were heard from heavy- 
artillery, as if the bombardment were breaking out again. 
It turns out, however, to be only the bursting up of the guns 
which have been handed over to us with the fortresses, and 
which are not worth thfir carriage into Germany. 

Count Henckel and Bleichroder were the strangers pre- 
sent at dinner. It was mentioned that Scheidtmann, 
in his dealings with the French financiers, had used ex- 
pressions about them that were more forcible than com- 
plimentary, not knowing that some of the gentlemen under- 
stood German. The Chief, speaking of the insolence of 
the Parisian papers, who behaved just as if the town were 
not in our hands , said, " If this goes on, they must be told 
plainly that we will put up with it no longer ; it must cease, 
or we will throw in a few shells from the forts in answer to 
their articles." When Henckel spoke of the bad feeling in 
Elsass, he remarked further that the elections ought never 
to have been allowed there at all, indeed his wish had been 
against it. But by an oversight the same instructions had 
been given to the German authorities there as everywhere 
else. Mention was then made of the sorrowful situation 
in which the Prince of Roumania found himself, and from 
Roumanian Radicals the conversation turned to Roumanian 
bonds. Bleichroder said that the speculation of financiers in 
stocks was always based upon the ignorance of the masses, 
and their blind desire to get money. This was confirmed 
by Henckel, who said, " I had many Roumanians, but after 
I had made about & per cent, on the rise, I took care to 
get rid of them, for I knew they could never bring in 15 per 
cent, and this alone could keep them lively." It was men- 

XIX.] Paris Newspapers on the Germans. 335 

tioned that the French were carrying on all kinds of smug- 
gling in the provisioning of Paris. It was not from pride 
that they had not availed themselves of our contributions; 
but simply because nothing was to be made out of them. 

This extends even to Government circles, as during 

these few days has made 700,000 francs by the purchase of 
sheep. " We must let them see that we are aware of this," 
said the Chief, glancing at me ; " it will do us a turn in the 
peace negotiations." It was attended to at once. 

In the evening I prepared several articles by the Chief's 
instructions. We ought no longer to allow the shameless- 
ness of the Paris Journalists. It passes the bounds of en- 
durance, and the limits of reasonable toleration, when 
the French press presumes to mock and insult us to 
our faces, their conquerors, before the walls of their capital, 
which is wholly in our power. Besides, their lies and in- 
sults are hindrances to the conclusion of peace, by embit- 
tering both sides and delaying the approach of a calmer 
state of feeling. This behaviour could not have been fore- 
seen at the conclusion of the Armistice-Convention ; and in 
the case of a prolongation of the armistice, which may be 
necessitated by this delay, we shall be obliged to consider 
what means there are of effectually preventing further insults. 
The best means would undoubtedly be the occupation of 
the city itself by our troops. We should thus relieve the 
French Government of a grave anxiety ; and in regard to 
the prevention of worse consequences from irritating press 
manifestations we may perhaps do on our side what probably 
it might be impossible to do on theirs. 

The Progres de Lyon has asserted that the Chancellor 
duped Favre in the matter of Belfort and the three South- 
Eastern departments. This is a falsification and mis-state- 
ment of the circumstances, which were as follows : In the 

336 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

negotiations for the armistice the Chief wanted the siege 
of Belfort not to be included in it, but things there to be 
allowed to take their course. Thereupon Favre, misled 
probably by the fictitious successes of the French arms re- 
ported in the provincial papers, and with the idea that 
Bourbaki might still do great things against us and relieve 
Belfort, made the proposal that the latter also should retain 
his full liberty of action. We had not certainly calculated 
upon this request, but still we saw no reason to oppose it. 
On the contrary, had we shown ourselves unfavourable to 
it, the French would have considered it a great hardship. 
It is therefore mere impudence for the Lyons paper to 
charge us with foul play in this affair. The lying reports of 
the French, and the proposal they induced Favre to make, 
were alone to blame for what happened. 

A leader for the Moniteur discussed the two subjects 
jointly, and was as follows : 

" The Progrh de Lyon of February 4 writes : ' It will 
be noticed that Herr Bismarck has not forgotten to in- 
troduce a characteristic trick of the trade of which he 
is such a master, into the conditions of the armistice, 
which bears a great resemblance to a surrender. Ac- 
cording to Jules Favre's despatch the military operations 
in the East were only to last till the moment when an under- 
standing was arrived at in respect of the line of demarcation, 
the drawing of which across the three Departments in ques- 
tion was reserved for a final settlement. Bismarck, like a 
crafty trickster (roue comphre), says in few words, but very 
plainly, that hostilities continue before Belfort, in Doubs, 
in Jura, and the Cote d'Or. Favre was apparently bam- 
boozled here, and it is possible that he deserves the charge 
of levity which Gambetta has brought against him on 
the score of the armistice. This slight misunderstanding 

XIX.] ' Belfort and the Convention. 337 

has brought on terrible consequences. In Jules Favre's 
sense but little time was needed to mark off the neutral 
territory between the combatants ; it should have been 
accomplished without delay, and our army in the East 
would have remained unimpaired till the peace. Bismarck, 
on the other hand, construes the matter like a disciple 
of Escobar : instead of giving orders to have the limits 
of the armistice immediately traced out, he instructs his 
armies to press on the pursuit with the utmost zeal, so 
as speedily to complete the ruin of the French army in 
the East. We all know the rest : Bismarck's dishonest 
interpretation of the armistice costs us the complete anni- 
hilation of a fresh army of some 100,000 men, in the event 
of the National Assembly deciding to continue the War.' 

" This is a statement which must be decidedly refuted, 
and shown to be what it is, a dishonest misrepresentation. 
In reality the case was as follows : 

" In the negotiations for the armistice-convention of 
January 28 a request was made on the German side that the 
siege of Belfort should be continued, even after the conclu- 
sion of the convention, unless Belfort should at once sur- 
render, on the garrison being allowed to retire. This request 
was refused on the French' side, and a fresh one put forward ; 
that, if the siege were to continue, fuU liberty of action 
should also be reserved to the army of Bourbaki. This 
was conceded by the Germans, and that was the reason 
-why hostilities went on before Belfort and in the three 
departments mentioned above.'' 

The preceding article, however, is only an example of 
the heaps of misrepresentations and inventions, silly fables 
groundless accusations, mean aspersions, and barefaced in- 
sults, which the French press, headed by the papers of Paris, 
fabricate and circulate day by day, no less since than before 

VOL. II. 2 

338 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

the armistice. It is, however, asking too much that the 
Parisians should have the right to insult and defy the 
conqueror at their gates, during an armistice which is to 
pave the way for peace. This attitude of the Parisian 
press, which after all was one of the chief causes of 
the whole war, is one of the main hindrances to peace. 
It prevents the French from seeing the necessity for it, and 
makes the Germans less willing to conclude it, and to trust 
to it for the future. When the expected negotiations for 
some extension of the armistice come on, the Germans will 
have to consider that the occupation of the city of Paris is 
the most effective means of putting a stop to these excitations 
against peace. 

Sunday, February 12. — We learn by telegraph that Napo- 
leon has issued a proclamation to the French. The tele- 
gram is to be printed in our paper to-day. The Chief seems 
to be unwell. He does not come to dinner. Abeken there- 
fore takes the chair, in virtue of the position he delights 
to feel that he occupies in the office, of Vice-Secretary 
of State. The entry into Paris is spoken of as inevi- 
table, and the old gentleman wishes to ride in the train 
of the Emperor. He intends, therefore, to send for his 
three-cornered hat from Berlin : " It would never do to 
put on a helmet for the occasion," said he ; " although, 
when one comes to think of it, Wilmowski has one." Hatz- 
feld thought that a Greek helmet with big white feathers 
would look fine. " Or one with a visor, that could be dropped 
at the moment of the entry," put in another guest. Bohlen 
finally proposed a velvet cloth, trimmed with gold lace, for 
the Privy-Councillor's gray horse. He took all these quizzing 
suggestions as put forward quite seriously for discussion. 

I wish I were rid of this limpness and giddiness, which 
constantly recur. 

XIX.] Irritation at the Press of Paris. 339 

Monday, February 13. — Yesterday and the day before I 
worked, though I was not well. To-day the same. I again 
called attention to the incivility of the Paris press, hinting 
that the irritation it created must be regarded as delaying 
peace, and could most surely be removed by the Occupation 
of Paris. The article is intended for the Moniteur, which is 
to append extracts from the insulting and threatening 
papers. The main substance is as follows : — 

" History will point to the Convention of January 28 as 
a conclusive proof of the moderation shown by Germany 
to France on that day. The Government of National De- 
fence itself recognised this when, in its proclamation of the 
loth inst. it says, ' Never has a besieged town surrendered 
under such honourable conditions, and these conditions 
were accepted, because outside help is impracticable, and 
our bread is eaten up.' At the very moment, however, 
when Germany is giving to conquered France the means of 
freeing herself from the burden of a Dictatorship, and becom- 
ing once more mistress of her own destinies, the Parisian 
and provincial press spits at the German army, the German 
princes, and the political and military leaders of Germany, 
so as to call an angry blush to the cheek of even the 
mildest man, and embitter those who have directed their 
efforts to saving thousands of innocent persons from the 
punishment which has been brought on by the blunders of 
the Demagogues, and of a press drivelling in madness. If the 
French armies remained uninjured ; if ' the elected of eight 
milhons ' were not a prisoner of war in Germany ; if more 
than half a million Frenchmen, in consequence of number- 
less defeats, were not sharing his fate, interned partly in Ger- 
many, partly in Belgium, and partly in Switzerland ; if, in a 
word, the fortune of war had not already clearly been de- 
cided— -these incessantly repeated swaggerings and affronts 

z 2 

340 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

would in any case have seemed most unseasonable. But 
what are we to say of the ideas and behaviour of this section 
of the French nation, in its own opinion so particularly pru- 
dent and high-toned, if while the public welfare depends 
on the conqueror's clemency, it takes pleasure in insulting 
him aimlessly and without cause ? Germany might treat these 
manifestations with the contempt that they deserve, had she 
not to keep in view the object which she has proposed to 
herself to attain. 

" This object is Peace, and Peace of a nature to last 
as long as possible. The excitement which the Parisian 
press is stirring up works against this in two ways : it in- 
fatuates the French, and it embitters the Germans. In Paris 
the true state of affairs — namely, that the city is in our 
hands — is not clearly understood. People do not see that 
these manifestations cannot further a reasonable decision of 
the question of war or peace, to which the National Assembly 
is now addressing itself. The entry of the German army, 
and the occupation of the city appear, therefore, to be the 
only means of hastening the work of peace, and removing 
the opposition, which has long been a matter of offence 
to Europe." 

Wednesday, February 22. — I wrote last week articles of 
all kinds, large and small, and sent off about a dozen tele- 
grams. I have been in the meantime at Fort Issy, at Mont 
Valdrien, and at the Castle of Meudon, reduced to ruins 
by fire. We came to Mont Val^rien just at the time when 
our people were carrying away the biggest of the cannon 
there, festooned with leaves. The remaining guns, both here 
and in Fort Issy have either been blown to bits, or pointed 
at the city. To enable them to do this, the walls and 
breastworks have been rebuilt. 

The Assembly in Bordeaux shows an intelligent regard 

XIX.] The Price of Metz. 341 

for the situation which the last four weeks have pro- 
duced. They have turned out Gambetta and elected 
Thiers as chief of the Executive Power, and spokesman 
for France in the peace negotiations, which began here 
yesterday. A profos of this, the Chief said yesterday at 
dinner, where Henckel was present, " If they gave a 
Milliard more, we might perhaps let them have Metz. We 
would then take eight hundred miUion francs, and build our- 
selves a fortress a few miles further back, somewhere about 
Falkenberg, or towards Saarbriicken — there must be some 
suitable spot thereabouts. We should thus make a clear 
profit of two hundred millions. I do not like so many 
Frenchmen being in our house against their will. It is just 
the same with Belfort. It is all French there too. The 
mihtary, however, will not be willing to let Metz slip, and 
perhaps they are right." 

Generals von Kamecke and von Treskow were our guests 
to-day. The Chief told us of his second interview to-day 
with Thiers. "When I demanded that of him" (I missed 
hearing what) " though he is usually well able to control 
himself, he rose to his full height and said, ' Mais dest 
une indigniie t ' (That is an indignity !) I would not allow 
myself to make a blunder, but I spoke to him in Ger- 
man after this. He listened for a time, and probably 
did not know what to make of it. Then he began in a 
querulous tone, ' But, M. le Comte, you are aware that I 
know no German.' I replied to him — this time in French, 
' When you spoke just now of " indignity," I found that I did 
not understand French sufficiently, so I proceeded to speak 
German, where I know both what I say and what I hear.' 
He at once caught my meaning, and as a concession wrote 
out what I had proposed, and what he had formerly con- 
sidered an indignity. 

34^ Bismarck iti the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

" ' And yesterday,' he went on, ' he spoke of Europe as 
hkely to- step in if we did not abate our demands.' I 
answered him, ' If you speak to me of Europe, I speak to 
you of Napoleon.' He would not believe in this : ' From 
him there was nothing to fear.' But I proved to him that 
he must think of the plebiscite, the peasantry, and the 
officers and soldiers. The Guard could regain their old 
position only under the Emperor, and, with a little address, 
it would not be hard for him to get for himself a hundred 
thousand of the soldiers who were prisoners in Germany. 
Then all we had to do was to let them go armed across 
the frontier, and France would be his again. If they would 
grant no good terms of peace, we would, in the end, put 
up even with an Orleans prince, though we knew that with 
them the war would break out again in two or three years. 
If not, we would interfere, which we have hitherto avoided 
doing, and they would get Napoleon again.' That must 
have made an impression upon him ; for to-day, when he was 
going once more to speak about Europe, he pulled himself 
up suddenly and said, ' I beg your pardon.' He pleases me, 
however, very much ; he has a fine intellect, good manners, 
and can tell a story very agreeably. I was often sorry for 
him, too, for he is in a bad position. But' all that cannot 
help him." 

The Chancellor came afterwards to speak of the conversa- 
tion he had had with Thiers about the cost of the war, and 
said, " His idea throughout was to agree to a war indemnity 
of only 1500 millions, for it could not be believed what the 
war had cost them ; and besides^ everything that had been 
supplied to them had been bad. If a soldier only tripped 
and fell down, his breeches were at once torn, so wretched 
had* been the cloth. The same with the shoes with the 
pasteboard soles, as well as the arms, especially those from 

XIX.] The War Indemnity. 343 

America. I replied, Yes, but just suppose that a man 
were to attack and try to flog you, and after having beaten 
him off, you came to settle with him and demand reparation, 
what would you answer were he to appeal to you with ' You 
must take into consideration that the rods with which I 
tried to beat you cost me a lot of money and were so badly 
made ? ' Besides, thefe is a very considerable difference 
between 1500 and 6000 millions." 

The conversation hereupon, I do not remember how, lost 
itself in the gloom of the Polish forests and their swamps, and 
turned for a while upon the great solitary farms, and upon 
the colonisation of these " Backwoods of the East," and the 
Chief remarked, " In former days when so many things were 
not and did not seem likely to be as they should be, I 
often thought, if things did not get better, I would take my I 
last thousand thalers, put up a farm for myself in the I 
woods, and keep house there. But matters turned out 

The talk turned at last upon ambassadors' reports, of 
which for the most part, the Chief seems to have a low 
opinion. " Great part of them is mere paper and ink," 
said he. " The worst is when they make them long. 
With B. one is used to his sending every time such a ream of 
paper, with antiquated newspaper cuttings. But if any one 
else writes much, one gets disgusted, because as a rule there 
is nothing in it." "If people write history out of them, 
there is no proper information to be got there. I be- 
lieve the archives will be opened to them after thirty years ; 
they might be allowed to see them much earlier. Despatches 
and reports, even if they contain anything, are not intelli- 
gible but to those who know the persons and circumstances. 
Who knows after thirty years what sort of a man the writer 
was, what view he took of the case, and how far his 

344 Bismarck in the Franco-German War. [Chap. 

representation of it was biassed by his individuality ? And 
who has any intimate acquaintance with the persons of whom 
he writes ? It ought to be known what Gortschakoff, or 
Gladstone, or Granville thought of their ambassador's report. 
Better information may be gleaned from the newspapers, 
of which even governments avail themselves, and where 
one often says more plainly what one thinks. But in 
this case, too, knowledge of the conditions is necessary. 
The main points always lie in private letters and confidential 
communications, even by word of mouth, nothing of which 
finds its way into the records." He added a number 
of examples, and concluded, " This is only to be learned 
confidentially, not officially." 

Thursday, February 23. — We are to keep Metz. The 
Chief announced this distinctly to-day at dinner. Belfort, 
on the other hand, there seems no desire to keep. The 
entry of a part of our army into Paris is now quite decided. 
I wrote this evening in the Moniteur to the following effect : 

" We have repeatedly characterised as it deserved the 
unmeasured abuse which the Parisian press is heaping upon 
the victorious German army, while it stands at the gates of 
their capital. We have also remarked that the Occupation 
of Paris by our troops would be the most effective means of 
putting a stop to this insolence. Their swaggerings, lies, 
and slanders have to-day quite passed bounds. Read for in- 
stance the Yxgzxo feuilleton for February 21, entitled '■ Les 
Prussiens en France^ and signed Alfred d'Aunay, in 
which the most shameful outrages, thefts, and plunder- 
ings are laid to the charge of the German officers and 
the Germans generally. We understand that this be- 
haviour, which escapes the notice it deserves, has rendered 
perfectly fruitless the strenuous efforts made by the" Parisian 
negotiators to prevent the entry of the German army into 

XIX.] The Occupation of Paris. 345 

Paris, and that all hope of avoiding this entry has gojie by. 
We are assured on good authority that this will take place 
immediately after the expiry of the armistice.'' 

Friday, February 24. — In the morning we had the brightest 
and loveliest spring weather, and the garden behind the 
house was filled with the twitter of birds. Thiers and 
Favre were here from one till half-past five. When they 
were gone the Due de Mouch}- and Comte de Gobineau 
called to complain, they said, of oppression on the part of 
the German prefects, like the one in Beauvais, who is 
apparently governing harshly, or at least not with winning 
mildness. The Chief appeared at dinner in plain clothes 
- — for the first time during the war. Can this mean that 
peace has been concluded ? 

Saturday, February 25. — -Again unpleasant news from 
Bavaria. Odo Russell is supposed to have called in the 
course of the day, but not to have presented himself to the 
Chief This has led to people saying that England intends 
to interfere in the peace negotiations.* In the evening there 
is a rumour that the war indemnity to be paid by the French 
has been reduced from 6000 to 5000 million francs, and 
that the preliminaries of peace will probably be signed to- 
morrow, the consent of the National Assembly in Bor- 
deaux being alone wanting. Metz is handed over. Our 
soldiers are to enter Paris next Wednesday, in order to 
occupy, to the number of 30,000 men, that part of the inner 
town which lies between the Seine, the Rue du Faubourg 
Saint-Honord, and the Avenue des Ternes, until the 
National Assembly has declared its concurrence in the pre- 
liminaries of peace. This will undoubtedly come soon, and so 
we may turn our faces homewards in the first week of March. 

* The Chancellor told me later, that on March 4th, they had only 
attempted it in regard to the money question, when it was too late. ' 

346 Bismarck in the Franco-Germaii War. [Chap. 

March i, Wednesday. — In the morning I went out to the 
bridge of boats at Suresnes, and across to the grassy plain of 
Longchamps, as far as the Bois de Boulogne, and looked on 
from the roof of the half-ruined View-house of the racecourse 
at the review which the Emperor is holding of the troops which 
are to enter Paris. There were Bavarian regiments among 
them. They say that the Guard is to go home to-morrow. 
At dinner, where the AViirtemberg Minister von Wachter and 
Mittnacht joined us, the Chief told us he had ridden into 
Paris, and been recognised by the populace. No demonstra- 
tion, however, had taken place against him. One person, 
who threw at him a very sinister glance, and up to whom 
he accordingly rode to ask for a light, readily complied 
with his request. Mittnacht told another story about the 
high personage whose curiosity had already formed the topic 
of conversation. " I don't know whether you have heard 
before," said he, " how he remarked to some one who was 
presented to him, ' Ah, I am delighted ; I have heard so 
very much to your credit — what was it, pray ? " General 
laughter. OnlyAbeken seems as usual to hear such frivolous 
talk with pity and surprise. 

Thursday, March 2. — Favre comes as early as half-past 
seven in the morning, and wishes to be announced to the 
Chief Wollmann, however, refuses to wake him, and 
his Parisian Excellency is much put out. Favre has to 
communicate the news received during the night that the 
National Assembly in Bordeaux has assented to the Peace 
Preliminaries, and he wishes therefore to claim the evacua- 
tion of Paris, and of the forts on the left bank of the Seine, 
a request which he left in the form of a letter. 

Monday, March 6. — A beautifully fine morning. Thrushes 
and finches warble the signal for our departure. We must 
breakfast at the Sabot d'Or, for all our plate is already 

XIX.] The End of the Seven Months' War. 347 

packed up. About one o'clock the carriages are put into 
motion, and we pass with a light heart out of the gate 
through which we entered five months ago, by way of the 
Villa Coublay, Villeneuve Saint-Georges, Charenton, and the 
pheasantry, to Lagny, which we reached after seven o'clock, 
taking up our quarters in two summer-houses on the right 
bank of the Marne, about three hundred paces beyond the 
fallen bridge. 

From Lagny we went next day by express train to 
Metz, which we entered late in the evening, putting up 
at an hotel, while the Chief lodged with Count Henckel' at 
the Prefecture. The next morning we walked through the 
town in various directions, went to see the Cathedral, and 
had a view from one of the forts over the country to the 
north-west. Shortly before eleven we again took train to go 
by way of Saarbriicken and Kreuznach to Mainz, and thence 
to Frankfort. The Chief was enthusiastically received 
everywhere, especially in Saarbriicken and Mainz. It was 
only in Frankfort that there was no demonstration. From 
this city, though we reached it late in the evening, we 
went on still further in the night, and by the next morning 
at half-past seven we were in Berlin, from which I had 
been absent exactly seven months. It was clear, on con- 
sideration, that as much as was possible had been done in 
the interval. 



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B 2 


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